Top Turkish commander’s aide admits allegiance to Gülenists
Mesut Hasan Benli – ANKARAChief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar’s aide, Infantry Lt. Col. Levent Türkkan, has revealed in testimony his allegiance to the suspected group behind the July 15 failed coup attempt, detailing how his involvement with the movement began and admitting that the group bugged Turkey’s top commanders.
“I am a son of a poor family. My dad was a very poor farmer. We did not have any fields, private gardens. I first met with the Fethullah Gülen movement during my middle-school years. I was a bright and promising student,” said Türkkan, who was arrested over alleged links to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
He added that he always wanted to be a soldier and that ambition “played into the hands of the [Gülen] community.”
“In 1989 I took the Işıklar Military Academy’s examination. I was sure to pass it with my own knowledge. My brothers in the community were sure as well. But they still brought me the questions at midnight before the exam. Brother Serdar brought the questions. They gave the questions to me at a community house based in central Bursa,” said Türkkan.
“Yes, I am a member of the parallel establishment. I am from the Gülen community ... After I was brought to the aide-de-camp position at the General Staff, I started to execute the orders given on behalf of the community,” said Türkkan.
Türkkan also plead guilty to bugging former Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel with a listening device.
“We used to listen to Necdet Özel Pasha with a bug all the time. A ‘brother’ working at Turk Telekom provided the device. Once in a week I was taking the bugs to the ‘brother.’ Bugging was made during the times of Necdet Özel Pasha, Hulusi Akar Pasha, and Yaşar Giler Pasha. I learned about the coup on Thursday, July 14, 2016, at around 10:00 [a.m.],” said Türkkan.
Türkan was working as a deputy aide for Özel between 2011 and 2015 and then promoted to the aide position.
“I used to put the bugging device called the ‘radio,’ which was as big as two fingertips, in a spot in the room of the pasha every day and take it while leaving in the evening. It had its own memory. Its battery lasted for a day... Sometimes there were searches for the bugs in the room of the Chief of General Staff. Naturally since I knew when these searches were to take place beforehand, I was not planting them [during those times].”
“In the afternoon of July 15, I went to Maj. Gen. Mehmet Dişli’s room. He is a community member as well. He told us that ‘I will ask the Chief of General Staff if you will be Kenan Evren or not.’ Dişli was thinking that Akar pasha was going to accept the offer. But Akar did not accept the offer. Force commanders were not convinced either,” said Türkkan, adding that Akar was at his post on July 15 between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and he spoke last with the head of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Hakan Fidan.
“After Fidan left the post, some 20 fully-equipped soldiers from the special forces entered the headquarters. Dişli was there as well. Five minutes later, Dişli left and told us ‘enter,’” said Türkkan.
Saying he found out about the bombing of parliament from TV, Türkkan added that he started feeling “regret” after learning that civilians were harmed.
“When I found out that the bombs were exploding and the civilians were getting harmed I started to feel regret. It was like a massacre. All this was done by a movement that I thought was working for God,” he said, adding that he did not resist the security forces while surrendering.
“I sincerely regret not only participating in the coup, but also being a part of the Gülen movement. I have responsibility for these events but I’m not a traitor. I didn’t shoot at the police or civilians and I would never do that,” Türkkan said.