Wife relates exploits of soldier who fell against Turkey's coup attempt
ISTANBULThe actions of the highest-ranking soldier to die while fighting against the July 15 attempted coup were critical in defending Istanbul, his widow has said, according to daily Vatan.
The story of 47-year-old 3rd Corps Command Chief Head Infantry Staff Col. Sait Ertürk began when he called his commanders as soon as he heard of the attempt. Aided by Kartaltepe Post Commander Infantry Col. Davut Ala and a sergeant, Ertürk initiated a plan to prevent the 66th Armored Brigade Command from supporting the coup attempt, according to his widow, Ceylan Ertürk.
Alongside three police officers and three specialized sergeants, Ertürk’s team stormed the brigade and helped prevent tanks, weapons and soldiers from exiting the post.
Ertürk was killed on the night by a single bullet.
Ceylan Ertürk said they had talked ahead of the commanders’ counter initiative, during which time her husband said, “Be calm, this job will be finished by the morning, we will bring all of them in.”
“My husband had served at the 66th Armored Brigade Command two years ago as brigade deputy commander. He felt responsible. He went [there] with the idea that ‘Let us go too. That is my former brigade, some of the personnel know me, I can convince them so they won’t attempt this job’ and thus prevent the bid there. According to what has been said, when they arrived there, he first saw a huge crowd outside the brigade...Some tanks had left from the brigade previously and led to causalities. Upon this civilians had gathered there … He made a convincing speech, saying: ‘We came to capture these traitors, to suppress this event.’ When the people saw what is what, they chanted ‘the biggest soldier is our soldier,’” she said.
She said the commanders’ group confronted soldiers at the brigade, during which time her husband asked them whether they were “with the state or with the traitors.”
“He took the ones who said, ‘We are with the state’ to the side and asked the groups countering him to surrender, informing them that what they were doing was treason. He convinced the oppositional soldiers with an effective speech and calmed the events; they prevented the exit of tanks and weapons [from the brigade],” she said.
“One of the commanders calling me to deliver condolences said: ‘If Sait had not been there, today there would be no Istanbul.’ Of course, I add Col. Ala to this too,” she said.
The initiative of the groups led by Ertürk and Ala became stalled after the six encountered pro-coup soldiers who defied them, resulting in a clash.
Ceylan Ertürk said the deadly encounter occurred when her husband along with police officers and two specialized sergeants came to the headquarters to capture pro-coup soldiers.
Sait Ertürk ordered the putschists to surrender, but they countered, ordering him to surrender, precipitating a clash that killed Ertürk and a police officer. Ala was injured by seven bullets.
Ertürk said her husband was a true patriot who always sought to develop himself and aimed to go forward, adding that he died the way he had always lived.
Ala’s treatment is continuing, while Ertürk was buried at Cebeci Martyrs’ Cemetery in Ankara.