Key coup suspect denies allegations on 2nd day of Akıncı trials
ANKARAThe key suspect in the case on the events at the Akıncı Air Base, considered to be the commanding center of Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt, has denied all allegations during his defense on the second day of the trademark trial.
The Ankara 4th High Criminal Court continued hearings on events at the base, from which warplanes took off to bomb parliament and other key state offices, killing 77 people.
On the second day, the court board started to hear the statements of 486 suspects including Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamic preacher who is accused of masterminding the coup attempt, and civilians Adil Öksüz, Kemal Batmaz, Harun Biniş, Nurettin Oruç and Hakan Çiçek, who are accused of being the leaders of Gülen network in key state offices.
Batmaz, the first suspect to give a statement, denied all allegations.
“I have never been a part of this organization. I deny all the allegations,” he said.
Described by prosecutors as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization’s (FETÖ) “civil imam” (or leader), Batmaz is accused of coordinating the coup attempt with Öksüz, accused of being the other civilian leader within the Air Forces.
The indictment also included video footage depicting Batmaz and Öksüz at Istanbul Airport, allegedly heading to the U.S., where he is accused of contacting Gülen.
“I have seen Öksüz with his brother-in-law Abdulhadi Yıldırım couple of times. For this reason we might have said ‘Hello’ to each other couple of times because we encountered each other several times. We have bowing acquintance. It does not mean that I know him,” Batmaz said.
Batmaz said the video footage at the airport is a “coincidence,” adding that he travelled to the U.S. for business purposes.
“I have neither gone to Pennsylvania nor have I ever had contact [with Gülen]. The idea of receiving an instruction is out of the question. The only connection I have is the fact that I worked in their companies,” he said.
“I could not have been given orders. The fact that I was abroad during the meetings that allegedly took place in Ankara [to plan the coup] is evidence of this,” he added.
The indictment also included a video obtained from security cameras at the Akıncı Air Base allegedly depicting former commander Hakan Evrim making a formal military salute to Batmaz. However, Batmaz denied that the person in the footage was him.
Batmaz and Biniş were caught on the coup night near the Akıncı Air Base, which he said they had come to while “looking for real estate.”