Ruling AKP lawmakers press charges against former top commander

Ruling AKP lawmakers press charges against former top commander

ISTANBUL - Demirören News Agency
Ruling AKP lawmakers press charges against former top commander

Six lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have filed criminal complaints against former Chief of General Staff İlker Başbuğ after he said FETÖ, the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt, had played a significant role in the adoption of laws in parliament that resulted in several military personnel to serve jail time over a decade ago.

Speaking to reporters on Feb. 7, an AKP deputy for the Central Anatolian Kayseri province, Mustafa Elitaş, said that he and five other deputies of his party will file a criminal complaint against Başbuğ in the afternoon.

Along with Elitaş, Bekir Bozdağ, Ahmet Aydın, Yahya Doğan, Mehmet Ceylan and Abdurrahmen Müfit Yetkin will file the complaints on the ground that the former top soldier “accused [them] of being the FETÖ’s political establishment.”

“Our lawyers will file criminal complaints against İlker Başbuğ and Dursun Çiçek. We lodge the complaint on grounds of defamation and slander,” Elitaş said.

He added that the lawmakers are pressing charges against Çiçek because he said “FETÖ’s political leg has been found.”

The lawmakers’ move came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called them on to file lawsuits against Başbuğ.

Başbuğ, who had served as the chief of general staff between 2008 and 2010, suggested that a law amendment that paved the way for the special authorized courts to prosecute military personnel had been adopted in 20019 “at the hands of FETÖ.”

Başbuğ said these courts that were under the control of FETÖ had been used to conduct a series of plots against the army’s top personnel, including himself, adding that had the law not been passed FETÖ’s structure within the army would be revealed and the coup attempt of July 15, 2016 would have been prevented.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), however, recalled that it had taken this law amendment to the Constitutional Court due to what it believed were violations against the Turkish Constitution.

Başbuğ was arrested in August 2012 and kept behind bars for 26 months on terror charges.

“Those who submitted this draft law to parliament on June 26, 2009 should be investigated. If we say FETÖ has no political leg, that would be denying the truth,” Başbuğ said.

In a written statement on Feb. 6, Başbuğ stressed that interpreting his statements as accusations against the lawmakers was not right.

“Our purpose was to find out who these lawmakers were, who first proposed these changes although the original drafted law did not include them, how such an unconstitutional amendment could be passed in parliament and how the president at the time approved this law despite being warned that it was against the constitution?” he stated.

In response to Başbuğ’s remarks, Erdoğan urged the lawmakers to “sue him in order to protect the parliament.”

“Implying that there was FETÖ influence in-laws that had been adopted 11 years ago with the support of all the four parties is, to say the least, disrespect to the parliament.

Most importantly, such an accusation against the lawmakers that endorsed this law is a deliberate attack against parliamentary immunity and the representatives of the national will,” Erdoğan told his AKP lawmakers on Feb. 4.