Coup commission not to question president, prime minister, intel chief

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) speaks with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R), during a ceremony marking the 78th anniversary of the death of founder of the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, at the mausoleum of Anitkabir in Ankara, on November 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Turkey’s parliamentary Coup Commission will submit no questions about a failed coup on July 15 to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım or National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan despite their key roles in the government, after sending written questions to Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar.

The decision came after reports during the week that Erdoğan and Yıldırım would receive written questions on how they learned about the coup and whether they had any contact with MİT on the incident.

On Wednesday, written questions from the Coup Commission were sent to Gen. Akar after the commission declined to invite the general to testify about the failed coup attempt on July 15.

After the news broke, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Aykut Erdoğdu wrote on Twitter that even though he is a member of the Coup Commission, he learned about this development from the media. Erdoğdu argued that Akar was not allowed to testify in the commission because President Erdoğan did not allow it, fearing responses that would be spontaneous.

Despite his critical witnessing of the background leading up to the coup, Akar has not yet testified for any investigation. Earlier in December, Reşat Petek, chairman of the Coup Commission, prevented a vote on a motion to have Fidan and Akar testify to the commission.

Petek, a Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy, refused to answer questions from commission members from the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) as to whether or not Fidan and Akar would appear before the commission.

CHP deputy Erdoğdu, who was angered by Petek’s objection to the vote on the motion, said, “This is the coup; if the coup had taken place, this would have happened.”

Petek said in an earlier statement that the commission has so far been unable to hear Akar on the coup attempt because he was busy commanding wars on multiple fronts.

Petek also underlined that the commission needs to obtain permission from the prime minister in order to hear the testimony of MİT head Fidan concerning the coup attempt, which claimed the lives of 240 people and injured a thousand others.

The commission on Nov. 24 also declined to hear the testimony of the allegedly putschist general Mehmet Dişli, the brother of a senior ruling AKP politician, due to the “nay” votes of the commission members from the AKP.

Erdoğdu said on Dec. 3 that the AKP was trying to obscure the realities behind the failed coup attempt because the commission is being prevented from doing its job by “hidden hands.”

The members of the commission from the AKP also refused to hear the testimony of military officers who bombed the parliament building on July 15.

The parliamentary commission established to investigate the failed coup attempt on July 15 should conclude its work as soon as possible, President Erdoğan told media on Dec. 12.

“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 in response to a question from the media asking his opinion about the commission’s upcoming schedule.

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