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No risk of coup, says deputy chief of general staff

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Gen. Ümit Dündar, the deputy chief of general staff, has said there is no risk of another military coup in Turkey, the Diken news site reported on Tuesday.

Dündar testified on Tuesday to the parliamentary Investigation Commission, which is looking into a failed coup in Turkey on July 15. Dündar denied news reports in the Turkish media which claim that when the coup attempt was initiated, he had told President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that he would protect him if his plane were to land in İstanbul.

The commission has been under fire for not inviting Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and Hakan Fidan, the undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), to testify.

Although the government based its accusations of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen as the alleged mastermind of the coup attempt on the initial testimony of Akar, the opposition’s offer to hear to him as well as Fidan as witnesses was rejected by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies on the commission.

Shortly after the abortive coup, Akar claimed that the putschists wanted to put him on the phone with Gülen, calling him “our pundit,” a term the Gülen movement has never used. His testimony remains the main basis for the government’s accusation against Gülen.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Aytunç Çıray asked the commission to hear the relatives of the July 15 victims as well as the chief of general staff and the head of MİT to shed light on the facts behind the coup. Çıray said that without knowing what really happened when Akar and MİT Undersecretary Fidan talked on the night of the coup for five hours, the facts surrounding the coup could not be known.

Despite this proposal, the president of the commission from the AKP, deputy Reşat Petek, and his fellow politicians from the governing party opposed the idea.

According to the CHP’s Çıray, there are three arguments regarding the coup in Turkey. One is that the Gülen movement carried it out. The second is that the coup attempt was a plot staged by President Erdoğan and the government. Third is that the government let the coup take place despite earlier intelligence. Çıray urged obtaining the testimony of Akar and Fidan to ascertain the facts behind the coup. He also reported alleged phone calls abroad and asked for an investigation of the call logs of top officials.

Another opposition deputy, the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) Mehmet Erdoğan, also asked that Fidan be invited to the commission, saying that it is inexplicable why Fidan went to the Directorate of Religious Affairs after leaving the office of the chief of general staff on the night of the failed coup.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the AKP government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement within hours of the abortive attempt.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup, a claim not backed up by evidence.

Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

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