PM Yıldırım called the Chief of General Staff to Çankaya Palace on July 15
One of the most interesting pages of the July 15 coup attempt is the long night lived at the Akıncı Air Base, where Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar was held hostage by the coup soldiers until morning.
The significance of the Akıncı base is that the operation center of the coup, including the civilian cadres of the Gülen movement, such as Adil Öksüz, Harun Biniş and Kemal Batmaz, was based in the 143rd fleet.
It was revealed from all the narratives that intense traffic was experienced between the base’s command building, where Akar was held hostage and the 143rd Fleet building in the process that lasted until the morning.
Major Gen. Mehmet Dişli and Supreme Military Council member Gen. Akın Öztürk, who disclosed the coup to Akar in the General Staff Headquarters and went to Akıncı with him later on, were a part of this traffic.
According to Akar’s prosecution testimony, one of the most significant points in breaking the coup soldiers’ resistance is President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s live address to the crowd that gathered at Istanbul’s Atatürk airport. “The address of our Mr. President destroyed all the hopes of the treacherous coup plotters, I would say,” says Gen. Akar. This address started at 6:27 a.m.
What carries importance here is the issue of how the uprising would end when the coup plotters reached the point of giving up.
At this stage, in case Akar had to speak with the president and the prime minister “the attempt would end, they would surrender to justice and he would explain all the external elements to return to the military barracks,” he told the coup soldiers.
Mehmet Dişli is the one who stepped in with his cell phone at this point. When the phone records of Dişli included in the indictment are examined, we see he spoke on the phone using his cell phone between 8:17 and 8:47 a.m. on the morning of July 16 six times with a phone number that starts with (505160…) belonging to the Prime Ministry and another one at 8:22 a.m. with a phone line that starts with (533167…) again, belonging to the Prime Ministry.
“I told him about the situation, while we were talking on the phone I told him, ‘Negotiations will be out of question. They will surrender to military prosecutors, public prosecutors, police and discipline while looking all the traitors in the eye,’” described Gen. Akar of his conversation with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.
Now, let’s read the surrendering testimony from Gen. Adem Huduti, the commander of the second army in Malatya, with whom Akar spoke to a short while after this incident. Gen. Huduti, who negotiated with the coup plotters who put pressure on him in the headquarters until the morning, said his phone call took place after 9:00 a.m.
“Our Chief of General Staff called me from a cell phone. He told me they came to an agreement with the coup plotters in the Akıncı Air Base that he was held and the implementation would be as listed below—He told me that the first part is that the gendarmerie and police would cease fire and withdraw, that I call the head of those who keep us under pressure as the second step, that he talk to the people whom he received orders from in Ankara, that they will disclose this agreement to them, they will be isolated from their weapons subsequently, they will be taken to police headquarters and will be delivered to justice for what’s necessary to be done,” Huduti described the call.
Gen. Dişli, who was with Gen. Akar in the Akıncı Air Base until morning, used the statements “The commander conveyed the plan” to describe Akar’s conversation with Prime Minister Yıldırım in his prosecution testimony.
“We are going to the headquarters, we’ll meet there,” Akar said at this point, according to Dişli.
Dişli said he was in contact with the prime minister’s executive assistant Murat Aydın, who was a retired colonel and that the dialogue was mostly carried out from that channel.
An interesting dialogue had taken place here after Akar and Dişli had gone on the helicopter. According to Dişli’s narrative, Akar’s plan was to directly return to the General Staff from Akıncı Air Base. That’s why Dişli called the headquarters and received the answer that the security situation was available.
Dişli described the events that unfolded after ordering the helicopter pilot to go to the headquarters first.
“Colonel Murat called once again after a while and said that Mr. Prime Minister asked us to go to Çankaya rather than the headquarters and that he would also go there. I told this to the commander and the pilots,” he says.
Akar’s prosecution testimony doesn’t have any clarity on where he wanted to go first at the stage of leaving the Akıncı Air Base.
Akar said he told Mehmet Dişli to stay at the Akıncı base. However, the major general accompanied him for the sake of providing security, adding that “When the helicopter was taking off, he conveyed the issue via phone to some place. When the helicopter was in the air, he was also in contact with some places. In the end, we landed in the Prime Ministry in the Çankaya Mansion and the undersecretary of the Prime Ministry greeted me.”
Prime Ministry sources confirm that the message to go to Çankaya was given to Gen. Akar. From this message we understand that Prime Minister Yıldırım took control of handling the crisis from the Ankara front.
Dişli’s last phone call that entered the Akıncı cell tower records held with the Prime Ministry was at 8:47 a.m.
When he turned his phone back on at 9:33 a.m., the call entered the Çankaya cell tower records. The Chief of General Staff arrived at Çankaya Mansion sometime in between.