Turkish army chief to sue retired commander for claims over alleged link with Gülenists

Turkish army chief to sue retired commander for claims over alleged link with Gülenists

Turkish army chief to sue retired commander for claims over alleged link with Gülenists

Turkey's Chief of Staff General Necdet Özel and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu chat as they wait for the start of an official ceremony to mark Republic Day at the new Presidential Palace in Ankara, Oct. 29. REUTERS Photo

The top commander of Turkey has announced that he will sue a retired member of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) who indicated that he was involved with the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, referred to by government officials as the “parallel state.”

“No criticism of him comes from the Cemaat,” retired Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Dönmez was quoted as saying in comments delivered to a news show on private broadcaster A Haber, “Deşifre” (“Decode” in English), and aired on Nov. 21, speaking about Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel.

“I condemn the speaker who spoke to ‘Deşifre’ as a guest over his remarks, which don’t have any relation with the truth, are groundless, and are aimed at defaming me and my comrades. I believe that they intended to create information pollution in the public,” Özel said in a written statement released on Nov. 22. He also added that he will resort to “legal means” over the remarks.

“Cemaat” is one of the terms used to refer to the followers of Gülen, who has been in voluntary exile in the United States for over a decade.

The “parallel structure” was publicly documented as one of Turkey’s leading threats by the National Security Council (MGK) in its Oct. 30 meeting, which brought together the country’s top civilian and military leaders.

Meanwhile, a written statement released by the General Staff, also on Nov. 22, has underlined that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is a “national” army that doesn’t have and will never have any relationship to any illegal movement.

“The Turkish Armed Forces has never been in contact or cooperation with any illegal formations that have legal images, or with any illegal circles. It will also not do so from now on, because the TSK is a national army,” said the statement posted on the General Staff’s official website, underlining that the TSK had launched both administrative and judicial examinations on claims of “parallel structures” within itself.

Later in the day, the General Staff further elaborated that the statement aimed to respond to “groundless claims” against the TSK recently delivered by various figures.

“What we mean by ‘parallel structure’ is all parallel structures that also include the separatist terrorist organization,” the General Staff said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).