Top coup suspect says he followed orders of Turkish Chief of General Staff Akar
ANKARAOne of the top suspects in the key case on the July 2016 coup attempt, former Major General Mehmet Dişli, has said he was following the orders of Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar during events at the Akıncı Air Base, considered to be the command center of the coup.
“The coup plot was underway and [Akar] heard about it from me. Maybe I was the first person who uttered those words. I did not play an intermediary role. There was nobody other than the general in the room. I was not just the secretariat to the general, I can say that I worked as a one-man staff,” Dişli told the Ankara 4th Criminal Court on Aug. 14.
The court hosted the cross examination of Dişli at the 10th hearing of the case. A brother of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Şaban Dişli, Mehmet Dişli is accused of holding Akar at gunpoint, playing an intermediary role between coup plotters and Akar in a bid to persuade the chief of general staff to sign the coup declaration and to read it out to the public.
As he escorted Akar to the Akıncı Air Base from General Staff Headquarters and then to the Çankaya Palace on the night of the coup attempt, Dişli claimed that he was “in the unity of action with Akar, transferring the orders of the general.”
He said that he and the top suspect of the case Akın Öztürk, came to the base following Akar’s orders, and Öztürk stayed at the base “as part of the plan.”
The court head, Judge Selfet Giray, asked Dişli about a statement claiming that Akar told Dişli to “calm down” as “all necessary measures have been taken.”
“I told the general that the planes had taken off and five brigades were approaching. I believe the general meant that they had blocked the air space and had taken precautions. I did not know about any of this so I said ‘what precautions have you taken? The plot is underway,” Dişli told Giray.
The room where Gen. Güler was taken
The court also made Dişli watch video footage shot at the base showing Gendarmerie Commander Forces Gen. Yaşar Güler, who was the Deputy Chief of Staff at the time, being taken into a room at gunpoint. Dişli had earlier entered the same room making a phone conversation.
“I had just entered that room by chance to speak over the phone. I learned that Yaşar Güler was there on that night the next day when Akın Öztürk had called me. The chief commanders were also taken there. I also learned that afterwards. I did not know anything about the things that happened right in front of me,” Dişli said.
Akar’s words to the pilot
Dişli was also questioned about a previous statement of Uğur Kapan, the helicopter pilot carrying Dişli and Akar to Çankaya Palace, who claimed that Akar told him “we should have waited, we have acted prematurely.”
“I did not witness any conversation of the general. I did not hear the conversation between the pilot and Akar,” he stated, adding that he did not know whether Akar had spoken to former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu or other politicians.
Dişli said he and Akar went in the same vehicle to the helicopter that took them to Çankaya Palace, and Akar had a brief conversation with the pilot while the helicopter was being prepared. He said it took off to go to the General Staff Headquarters but changed its route after a phone call from the private secretary of the Prime Ministry, after which it headed to Çankaya Palace instead. He claimed that he himself had ordered the pilot to land at Çankaya Palace.