Date posted: May 17, 2017
As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets President Trump, top on his agenda is the extradition of ally-turned-rival Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish theologian with whom Erdogan fell out in 2013 after Gülen’s followers exposed Erdogan’s corruption. Erdogan blames Gülen and his followers for staging the abortive July 15 coup. In Turkey, Erdogan has imprisoned tens of thousands and fired many more. He called the coup “a gift from God” enabling him to purge society of political and ideological opponents.
While the narrative voiced by Erdogan and echoed by the Turkish press blamed Gülen exclusively, many Turks and diplomats quietly harbored suspicions that Erdogan planned and staged the coup himself as a Turkish equivalent of the Reichstag Fire. That may once have sounded like a fringe conspiracy, but increasingly it seems the likely genesis of events last July.
Turkish military officers have been increasingly vocal about some of the problems with Erdogan’s narrative. Some evidence is clearly made-up. Then there is the problem of accused coup participants who had actually died several weeks before the coup.
Now, there is the testimony of a Turkish lieutenant colonel facing three life sentences for his alleged actions on the night of the coup. Rather than confess under torture or remain silent out of fear, he has raised important questions that Erdogan and the Turkish government refuse to answer. Here is his statement, translated into English and provided to me by former colleagues:
I have been trained as a professional soldier for years. When I read the details of the indictment and the charges I face, I have the impression that I’m expected to believe in absurdity and act as if I am an idiot.
- Why were autopsies of the 248 people, who lost their lives during the events, not carried out?
- Why were the serial numbers and the bullet ballistics of my and my soldiers’ weapons, allegedly used during the events, not identified?
- Why did you reject my request for adding ballistic reports of these weapons to the court files?
- The Turkish military has around 600,000 personnel (officers, conscripts, etc.). Only around 1,000 are in custody for attempting a coup, 670 of which are young cadets at the age of 16, who had no bullets on their confiscated weapons. Does this make sense?
- We have around 280 fighter jets in our military and only a few F-16s were allegedly flown during the attempt. Does this sound normal? Why didn’t you investigate the serial numbers of the ammunition, allegedly dropped from these aircraft?
- On 24 November 2015, the Turkish Air Force proved that it could shoot down a Russian jet, which penetrated the border only for 20 seconds. How come a few coupist F-16s could fly over the capital for 9 hours without any intervention?
- The Turkish Military has around 2,500 tanks in its inventory. I and my colleagues are accused of plotting the coup with 74 tanks. Is this reasonable?
- Erdogan persistently claims that he first heard about the alleged coup, after the events broke out, from his brother-in-law and not from the Under Secretary of Turkish Intelligence Agency Hakan Fidan. Do you expect me to believe this?
- Only an hour after the start of the events, thousands of loaded trucks, tasked by the AKP municipal/district mayors, blocked the gates and entrances of multiple military units. How come thousands of trucks could be loaded and rushed to the gates in just one hour?
I expect you to take my statements into account and stay impartial to the case. I do not want to comment anymore since time has been the best commentator. The truth will unfold soon.
Indeed it should. Fanciful plots for political benefit have become the characteristic of Erdogan’s rule. Erdogan may want the United States and Europe to do his bidding when it comes to rounding up political opponents but there are simply too many unanswered questions. The fact that Erdogan refuses investigators to pursue their answers is telling.
Many of those in prison are innocent; those in the Ak Saray may not be.
Source: American Enterprise Institute , May 16, 2017