Turkish ‘coup veteran’ lied about broken jaw: Relative
Nurettin Kurt – ANKARAA man who sought veteran’s pay after media reports emerged suggesting he had stopped five tanks on the night of the thwarted July 2016 coup has been accused of “cheating the state,” after a relative said he was in fact the one who broke his jaw in a fight
Zafer Onaran made headlines last year for a statement in which claimed to have halted four tanks on the night of the failed coup attempt by throwing himself in front of them, only to be run over by the fifth tank. At the time, a number of media organs dubbed him the “hero who stopped five tanks.”
The man subsequently received compensation from the state for his alleged injury and was considered a “veteran” of the July 15, 2016, fight.
However, the man has now been accused of defrauding the state after one of his relatives, Beytullah Koca, went to the police station, saying: “What hero…We fought on July 16, and I was the one who broke his jaw. He is cheating the state.”
An Ankara prosecutor pressed charges against Onaran for “cheating a public institution.” The suspect then returned the money he received from the state and submitted a petition saying, “I give up my rights as a veteran.”
The individual’s wife, Aysel Onaran, was also involved in the case as she was the one who applied to a district governor’s office in Ankara for her husband to be declared a “July 15 veteran,” the investigation file said. At time, Onaran was reportedly in a hospital to receive treatment for his broken jaw.
“I did not apply to the district governor’s office in person. A notice came to house from the governor’s office. Then I went to the post office, and they gave us money. The person who made a complaint regarding us asked for half of the money. Once we did not give it, he defamed us,” Aysel Onaran told the judge during a hearing.
“I went to Kızılay [a central area in Ankara] on the night of the coup,” Zafer Onaran said. “While I was trying to get on the tank, the tank stopped abruptly, and I hit my jaw on the tank. I came home on the morning of July 16, and as the pain started to show itself in the afternoon, I went to the hospital. My jaw had been broken, and they put me into treatment. I could not speak, and I did not give a statement to any reporter that I had stopped five tanks. The journalist made the news without my knowledge.”
The judge told Zafer Onaran that authorities had not been able to locate a signal coming from his mobile phone on the night of the coup attempt, to which the man replied, “I had forgotten to take my phone with me.”
Meanwhile, the man’s lawyer Mehtap Demirhan asked the court to acquit her client. “Of course this issue could have been exploited by some ill-willed people expecting some financial means; we have heard of such rumors. But, my client had no such expectations.”
The court ruled that the district governor’s office was the party to be blamed as they had rendered the payment without conducting a proper investigation.
It also said the incident could not be considered a case of “fraud” and acquitted the couple in a decision on June 15.