A new photo of Maj. Gen. Mehmet Dişli, one of the alleged leaders of a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 and brother of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Şaban Dişli, has sparked debate over the unequal treatment of putschists.
The pro-Erdoğan Yeni Şafak daily published a photograph of Maj. Gen. Dişli, who appeared in an Ankara court for additional testimony on Friday. In the photo, Dişli was seen without handcuffs and appeared at ease with other people. The Gazeteport news website shared the picture as evidence of a double standard in dealing with putschist generals.
Dişli was actively involved in the coup and was arrested after the attempt failed.
Leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Oct. 28 accused the AKP government of laying the groundwork for the July 15 military coup attempt, saying that the brother of a senior AKP official led the abortive coup.
Speaking to Habertürk TV, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “The groundwork for a coup in Turkey was deliberately laid. Mehmet Dişli, the person who led the [coup attempt], was brought to General Staff headquarters before completing his service in the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] by the political will. … The will that kept Mehmet Dişli at General Staff headquarters is the political will that prepared the groundwork for the coup.”
The parliamentary Coup Commission, which was set up to investigate the events of July 15, on Nov. 24 declined to hear the testimony of the allegedly putschist Dişli due to the “nay” votes of the commission members from the AKP.
Efforts by the opposition party members of the commission to invite the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar to testify were also prevented by the AKP members of the commission.
Despite the fact that President Erdoğan accused Fidan and Akar of failing to inform him and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım about the coup attempt, the plan for which they had learned about six hours in advance, both of them continued to serve in the same positions.
CHP deputy Aykut Erdoğdu, a member of the commission, had hinted that the failed coup on July 15 was a calculated move on the part of President Erdoğan and the AKP government.
Erdoğdu said in an interview with the Birgün daily in October that the AKP was trying to obscure the realities behind the failed coup attempt since the commission was being prevented from doing its job by “hidden hands.”
“They are not clarifying that [July 15] night. MİT head Hakan Fidan’s failure to inform Erdoğan [about the coup attempt], Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar’s captivity and release, prime suspect Adil Öksüz’s release after detention and Erdoğan’s statement that he was informed [about the coup attempt] by his brother-in-law have not been clarified,” he said.
“The strongest and dirtiest hidden hand [to prevent the commission from continuing its investigation] is the ‘palace’ [Erdoğan’s] hand,” Erdoğdu added.
Declining to respond to the allegations of the opposition, President Erdoğan on Dec. 9 told the media that the parliamentary commission should conclude its work as soon as possible.
“Actually, I do not want to talk more about the issue. The coup commission has done what it is required to do. I think it would be right for the commission to quickly take its last steps, prepare a final report and finalize its task,” Erdoğan said.
Kati Piri, Turkey rapporteur for the European Parliament, said on Nov. 22 to a group of journalists in Strasbourg that despite the passage of four months since the attempted coup in Turkey, questions still persist.
“We don’t clearly know what happened and who was really behind it. Questions about July 15 are still there despite the fact that four months have passed. Investigative journalists do not have a chance to investigate and write about what happened,” said Piri upon a question as to whether the Gülen movement was behind the coup attempt.
The AKP government, which launched a war against the Gülen movement following the eruption of a corruption scandal in late 2013 in which senior government members were implicated, carried its ongoing crackdown on the movement and its sympathizers to a new level after the failed coup attempt in July that killed 240 people and injured a thousand others.
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a great 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.
A report published by the German Focus magazine in August claimed that Turkish government members decided to put the blame for the coup attempt on Gülen half an hour after the uprising and agreed to begin a purge of Gülen followers the next day.
More than 120,000 people have been purged from state bodies, over 80,000 detained and some 40,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees included journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.
Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.