Lawyer Mert Eryılmaz from İstanbul Bar Association has filed a criminal complaint against the United States (US) Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, accusing him of plotting the recent failed coup attempt in Turkey.
The criminal complaint was also filed against Director of US National Intelligence James Clapper and the US Army General Joseph Votel on charges that include “violation of Turkish Constitution” and “making propaganda of a terrorist organization.”
Eryılmaz filed the complaint accusing US military officials of participating in the July 15 failed coup attempt at the Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The lawyer claimed that Turkey’s İncirlik Air Base in Adana, which is primarily used by the Turkish Air Force as well as the US Air Force, was the place where July 15 “imperialist invasion” was orchestrated.
Stating that there are “more evidence than he could list” that shows the failed coup attempt was plotted at the İncirlik Air Base, Eryılmaz added that Fetullahist Terrorist Organization [FETÖ] members collaborated with high ranking US military officials for the plot.
“It is unthinkable that US armed forces act independently from both the US army chief and the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency]. Therefore, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General [Joseph Dunford] is directly responsible for the heinous invasion, the attempted coup,” Eryılmaz said in the complaint.
FETÖ is a term used by the government-backed judiciary to frame sympathizers of the Gülen movement, a grassroots social initiative inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen that carries out charitable activities all around the world, including education, distributing humanitarian aid and providing drinking water especially in African countries.
A group of rebel soldiers, acting out of chain of command, attempted a military coup at around 10 p.m. on July 15, which left more than 200 people – including civilians – dead.
The Turkish government managed to suppress the coup attempt and launched a large-scale crackdown across the country on media, public servants, judges, prosecutors and teachers, along with rebels within the army. The detentions, arrests and massive purges that followed the crackdown widened and increased after a state of emergency was declared on July 20, concentrating power formally into the hands of the president by allowing him and his cabinet to make laws by fiat.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accussed the Gülen movement of being behind the coup attempt and demanded extradition of Gülen from the US. Thousands of public servants, judges, prosecutors and journalists were detained by the Turkish police for allegedly having links to the Gülen movement.
Meanwhile, Gülen recently issued a statement condemning the failed military coup attempt in Turkey, calling the allegations of his involvement “demeaning.”
The Gülen movement is not considered to have influence over the Turkish military, which is known for its Kemalist roots that is against the Gülen movement. The rebel military officials who attempted to stage a coup named themselves as “Council of Peace At Home,” in a declaration they forcibly had delivered via the state-run broadcaster TRT on Friday night. The name is a reference to “Peace at home, peace in the world,” which is a famous saying by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.
Since a corruption investigation erupted on Dec. 17, 2013 and led to the resignation of four Cabinet ministers, Erdoğan has launched a witch hunt targeting shop owners, teachers, members of the judiciary, journalists and police officers who are accused of being affiliated with the Gülen movement, which is also known as the Hizmet movement. The graft probe implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, members of his family and senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures.
Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government and said that sympathizers of the movement within the police department had fabricated the corruption scandal. Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity in the course of the corruption investigation. Erdoğan openly said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement. The Gülen movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it.