Wife, brothers of Turkish anti-coup hero face suspects

Wife, brothers of Turkish anti-coup hero face suspects

Wife, brothers of Turkish anti-coup hero face suspects

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The second hearing of the case into the attempted takeover of the Special Forces Command in Ankara’s Gölbaşı district during the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt was held on March 1, with the participation of the wife and brothers of anti-coup soldier Ömer Halisdemir, who has been idolized for his resistance during a raid on the command. 

Halisdemir’s wife Hatice Halisdemir and his brothers Soner and Savaş Halisdemir participated in the hearing of the case, which has a total of 69 suspects. 

Non-commissioned officer Halisdemir was killed after he shot a pro-coup general, Semih Terzi, who arrived at the commandership to capture it during the coup attempt, which is widely believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

Acting on his commander’s orders, Halisdemir shot Terzi dead outside the special forces’ headquarters in Ankara but was himself later killed by the plotters.

Speaking at the hearing held in Ankara 14th Heavy Penal Court, one of the suspects, Bekir Kurt, said he had connections to the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, an ally-turned-nemesis of the government.

“I was connected to FETÖ, which is known as the Gülen movement, and which I understood to be a terrorist organization after July 15. I met them when I was a child. I was in contact with them during my middle school process and professional life. I last met with them on July 12. I didn’t realize it was such a treacherous structure until July 15,” Kurt said, noting that he was on duty at the Special Forces Command’s Logistical Support and Maintenance department. 

“I didn’t sense any ill intention in any of the people I met. They never asked me to be involved in any unlawful act,” he also said, citing the fact that he only met with the lowest cadres of Gülenists. 

Kurt said the Gülenists told him they had no connection to the 2013 graft probes, suspected of being a plot against the Turkish government masterminded by Gülen’s followers. 

“If they told me that they were trying to topple the government and carried out these operations to that end, I would have believed they are a terrorist group. But they said ‘it is just a police operation, we are not involved.’ I didn’t know that they were such a treasonous network, I was tricked,” he said, pleading guilty to the charges.