‘No regrets,’ says brigadier in charge of closing Bosphorus Bridge
AFP photoThe brigadier general in charge of the tanks dispatched to Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge on the night of the July 15 failed coup attempt has said he had “no regrets” about carrying out orders “he believed to be right,” while another brigadier general from the western province of Balıkesir said he disobeyed orders to dispatch over 30 tanks and armored vehicles to neighboring İzmir province.
“Chief of Staff Aegean Army Maj. Gen. Memduk Hakbilen called me from a military line and ordered that I dispatch 27 tanks and more than 10 armored vehicles from Bergama to İzmir,” Edremit 19th Motorized Infantry Brigade Commander Nihayet Ünlü said in his testimony, explaining he resisted Hakbilen’s orders as the dispatch would yield “too much power” and inflict too much harm on the city.
Ünlü also said Aegean Army Commander Gen. Abdullah Recep established contact with him, ordering him to go to the brigade command at once and make sure to use his authority. The dispatch aimed at threatening the government by concentrating armored vehicles in front of public institutions.
Meanwhile, Istanbul Second Armored Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Özkan Aydoğdu said in his testimony he worked to carry out the orders as he had been raised to do so.
According to Aydoğdu’s testimony, the so-called “Peace in the Country Action Plan” of the coup plotters was conveyed to him on July 13, two days before the attempt, and he canceled the leave of absences of soldiers to prepare for the coup.
“I took action after receiving written orders. Filled with bombs and ammunition, tanks left the units,” Aydoğdu said, admitting he also ordered military personnel to fire shots into the air after hearing that civilians had started to climb on the tanks.
“Tanks were caught up between masses of people. I lost contact. I couldn’t dispatch reinforcements as citizens had closed down the main entrance of the barracks,” he said.