Turkish General Staff refutes ‘drill’ claims of coup plotting soldiers

Turkish General Staff refutes ‘drill’ claims of coup plotting soldiers

Turkish General Staff refutes ‘drill’ claims of coup plotting soldiers The Turkish General Staff has refuted claims that suspects of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt were “participating in a drill,” in a report sent to chief public prosecutor’s offices in 81 provinces, saying that the events that unfolded on the night of the thwarted coup were deliberate, daily Habertürk reported on March 2.

The expert report prepared by the military has provided details on the drill process of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). 

The report, which will be provided as evidence in coup attempt cases, was included in the investigation carried out by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding the events that took place in the General Staff headquarters on the night of the foiled coup, widely believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). 

A number of suspects being tried over the coup attempt have told courts that they were unaware of participating in a coup, adding that they left their barracks after their commanders told them there was a military drill. 

The TSK plans the drills according to the predetermined “educational activity schedule,” the report said. All drills are planned at the start of the academic year and would be completed by June 15 at most, the TSK said.

“A professional TSK member, who received the order of an alarm or a drill on July 15, should have found the order against the regular pace of life and questioned it,” the report added.

In the report, the General Staff said regardless of the level of the alarms or drills, actual bullets would be used only in specially determined shooting fields and with very high security measures. These shooting fields are located kilometers away from city centers, while information is given to nearby village heads and residents with a notice in exchange of signatures, it said.

“The drill trainings are carried out in order to measure the reaction time of a unit in case of a sudden event in the TSK. If the alarm training is going to be conducted outside work hours, a motor dispatch is sent to the residential blocs of the personnel in order to give the order of the alarm in a closed envelope and the TSK asks the personnel to join the unit immediately. Private telephone lines, cell phones or e-mails are not used to inform the drill to the personnel,” it said. 

It is not possible under normal circumstances to bring staff out of barracks and order them to get on vehicles outside of work hours. Even if the training is intentional, it’s not possible for the armored vehicles to use the roads open to traffic without taking any controlled measures, the report said. 

“Furthermore, the trainings that are done at night without notice to gather personnel cannot be carried out in big cities like Istanbul or Ankara due to the difficulty of applying it,” it added.  

The fact that soldiers opened fire on civilians shows the intention of staging a coup, the General Staff said, adding that no matter what the exercise is, it is not possible for the TSK to take action in a way that would harm civilians.

“The actions of the people called to the barracks on July 15, who took up actual arms, went to civilian or military zones out of their planned duties and who opened fire on unarmed civilians, can only be explained as a staged coup and acted with an organizational motive. It is impossible to relate to this with concepts of alarms or drills. One of the subjects that need to be paid attention to regarding the events that unfolded on July 15 is that the people who participated in the coup could have only acted with prior preparation,” the report added.