Turkish General Staff denies pressure in spy case

Turkish General Staff denies pressure in spy case

Turkish General Staff denies pressure in spy case

Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Necdet Özel is visiting an exibition in İzmir. DHA photo

News reports suggesting the presence of pressure from a top commander on a delegation charged with preparing an expert report on the case of an alleged espionage gang in İzmir prompted the Turkish General Staff to release a denial statement and to emphasize the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) loyalty to the law.

“In the investigation phase of the case which is being carried out by İzmir 12th Serious Crimes Court and in which some of the Turkish Armed Forces staff are also being tried, upon a paper by the Office of İzmir Chief Prosecutor, it is maintained that the inquiry over the documents that are demanded to be inspected are carried out without allowing any staff member to oppress or inspire, in accordance with law and objectively,” said the statement posted on the official website of the TSK on Aug. 19.

The chief prosecutor in İzmir has charged 357 suspects with illegally gathering military and illegal information. The indictment, which runs 1,762 pages, accuses the suspects of “gaining military information through blackmail.” Eighty-eight suspects are already under arrest, while over 50 officers on active duty are included in the suspects list. Recent news reports claimed that Gen. Hulusi Akar, who has just been appointed as the Chief of Land Forces, has pressured the delegation charged with preparing the expert report in the case.

Compliance with law

“In regards to the ongoing investigations and cases, a great importance is attached by the General Staff to decisions and demands of judicial authorities on the basis of the principle of compliance with the law, to transact in accordance with relevant legislation provisions,” the TSK statement said.

The claims of pressure were voiced by lawyer Nevzat Güleşen. Prosecutor Zafer Kılınç had asked the General Staff for an expert report for military documents in the case file. The report prepared in September 2012 turned out to be to the advantage of the defendants. According to Güleşen’s claims, afterwards, the General Staff sent another report, this time opposing the defendants. Suggesting Akar’s pressure as the reason behind the second report, Güleşen that Akar testify in the court.