Date posted: March 22, 2012
22 March 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL
Former Chief of General Staff retired Gen. Hilmi Özkök was the target of a planned assassination by pro-coup generals within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in 2004, which was prevented when US officials in Baghdad discovered the plan and notified Turkish authorities about it, according to a recently published book.
The book, “Pirus — Devşirme Orduların Son Savaşı” (Pyrrhic — Last War of Devşirme Armies), is co-authored by journalists Mehmet Baransu and Tuncay Opçin.
According to the book, pro-coup generals at the time, who failed to get the support of Özkök to stage a coup, collaborated with the terrorist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) organization to ensure the killing of Özkök so that they could stage a military takeover.
After killing Özkök, then Land Forces Commander Gen. Aytaç Yalman, a pro-coup general, would succeed Özkök, and Yalman would be succeeded by then Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Şener Eruygur, both of whom would facilitate a coup.
However, US officials in Baghdad notified Turkish authorities about the assassination plot against Özkök, foiling the plans.
The journal entries of journalist Mustafa Balbay, who used to keep notes of his meetings with pro-coup generals, also confirm assassination plans against Özkök.
Cumhuriyet daily Ankara representative Balbay was detained on March 7, 2009, as part of the investigation into Ergenekon, a shadowy crime network with alleged links within the state and suspected of plotting to topple the government. Documents found on his computer include a detailed coup journal kept by him in which he took notes on his past meetings with army generals. Balbay is now jailed pending trial in the Ergenekon case.
According to reports, the routes used by Özkök in his daily activities were changed and security measures were greatly intensified after the emergence of assassination plots against the general. Özkök also began to bring food from home reportedly out of fear of poisoning from the food at the military headquarters.
Assassination plot against Gülen
According to the book, the Turkish Revenge Brigade planned an assassination against Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen during the days surrounding the Feb. 28, 1997 military coup, when Gülen was closely followed by the West Study Group (BÇG), which was established by the TSK to carry on the fight against reactionaryism and kept records of the ideological and religious background of academics and universities during the Feb. 28 process.
Two would-be hitmen, who were to assassinate Gülen, were detained before they carried out their plans as part of a probe into an assassination attempt against then Human Rights Association (İHD) President Akın Birdal in 1998.
Tags: Fethullah Gulen |