Coup commission hears shadowy former police chief, minister

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Mehmet Agar, leader of Turkish Democratic party (DP) speaks during a rally in Istanbul 14 July 2007, ahead of the 22 July legislative elections. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he would change the constitution to limit the president's powers and expand basic rights and liberties if his Justice and Ruling Party (AKP) is re-elected in the legislative elections. AFP photo HOCINE ZAOURAR / AFP PHOTO / HOCINE ZAOURAR

 

Turkey’s parliamentary Coup Investigation Commission on Thursday hosted Mehmet Ağar, a former minister of interior and police chief whose name was associated with the “deep state” and the chaotic decade of the 1990s for a majority of people in the country.

 

Ağar, who also served a brief prison sentence in 2012 on charges of forming a criminal organization following the infamous “Susurluk” incident, an accident that exposed the dirty relations between the state and the mafia in 1996, re-emerged on the political scene following a failed coup in Turkey on July 15.

 

In line with the narrative of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, the former police chief, who has been accused of disappearances occurring during his term in office, argued that the Gülen movement is responsible for the coup and said that “behind every secret organization in Turkey is a foreign intelligence agency.”

 

Regarding accusations that the Gülen movement has substantial control over the Turkish police force, Ağar said the movement did not wield any influence during his tenure. Stating that the police force has become stronger in the last couple of months amid an unprecedented purge of its ranks, Ağar said that during his time in office he only pursued terror organizations and criminals.

 

As far as the massive post-July 15 purge, detentions, arrests and torture reports are concerned, Ağar acknowledged the existence of victims, but at a low level. Ağar advised the government not to display cases of unlawfulness as massive violations as it would benefit the “organization,” in reference to the Gülen movement.

 

After his disappearance from politics during his legal battles, Ağar showed up at rallies that the AKP organized in the post-July 15 era.

 

Despite his testimony at the parliamentary commission, Ağar’s relevance to ascertaining the facts of the coup plot remains a mystery. The commission, which invited retired officials and irrelevant individuals to testify, refused to hear officials who are currently in charge of the military and intelligence agency.

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