A terrorist infiltrated army ranks
İlker Başbuğ was born in 1943 in the Aegean city of Afyon to a family who had migrated from Presevo or Presheva, a town once within Ottoman borders and now in Serbia. At the age of 19, in 1962, he graduated from the War Academy and the following year he graduated from the Infantry School.
Until he retired in 2010 because of the age limit, he served in many positions in the Turkish Armed Forces, including army commander, Land Forces commander, deputy chief of general staff, and chief of general staff. He was decorated with medals of merit, courage and extraordinary service.
He is now officially accused of being a terrorist who infiltrated the ranks of the armed forces by a court-accepted indictment written by a well-versed prosecutor; of working his way up to the top ranks of the armed forces and becoming a terrorist chieftain who controlled the armed forces of this country.
Of course top military commanders of this country need to give up the tradition of making political comments on every development in this country. In no way does this writer have the intention of praising the “tradition” of commanders delivering statements with strong political comments. Yet, it was rather strange to see statements delivered in front of top civilian executives, including the prime minister or even the president, and many of them broadcast by many TV channels, were included in the indictment as “evidence” supporting the claim that he was a “terrorist chieftain” who “infiltrated the military on behalf of Ergenekon.”
One of my friends did his military service as a third lieutenant in 1987 in a military unit under the direct command of Başbuğ. He dropped by for a cup of coffee and shared a rather sad joke: “Look, my friend, if Başbuğ is a chieftain who infiltrated the army and if I served under him and under direct orders from him, then what was I? Someone fulfilling compulsory military service or a member of a terrorist cell? Worse, if Başbuğ worked up to the position of top commander, was the Turkish Armed Forces the legitimate army of the country, or a terrorist gang?” I smiled and initially tried to avoid comment. Who knows, perhaps my businessman friend, who has apparently been making good money in his job, might have been a disguised terrorist, or worse a plainclothes officer trying to provoke me into a crime! Then I remembered the bitter reality… Should the all-capable political, intelligence, security and fraternity network want to host me at the Silivri concentration camp, concocting the required evidence would take little time for the center of excellence in conspiracy.
If someone who started military education at the age of 11 and served in the military until he was over 67 years old, including in the seat of the top commander, can be accused of being a terrorist who infiltrated the armed forces, this country has indeed became the gigantic stage of a tragicomedy.
Yet, with such tragicomic scripts thousands of people are suffering in this country at a concentration camp or walled in an empire of fear. In the meantime, within days the government provided a judicial shield to top spies alleged to have been involved in criminality and ordered investigation of the prosecutor who dared to investigate the top spies.