‘Erdoğan personally ordered Balyoz, Ergenekon investigations’

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Imprisoned police chief Ali Fuat Yılmazer (L) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

An imprisoned police chief who played a critical role in police intelligence units during the first two terms in office of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that it was Erdoğan himself who ordered investigations into two judicial cases known as Balyoz and Ergenekon, which are now called plots by the government.

The investigations, which dominated the domestic political scene starting in 2008 and aimed at holding the military bureaucracy accountable for unlawful actions as well as coup plots, had resulted in the trial of high-ranking generals amid complaints of irregularities and the unjust imprisonment of allegedly uninvolved people. Following corruption investigations in 2013, in an effort to ally with the military and secularists, Erdoğan and his government called these investigations “plots” of the Gülen movement after the high court acquitted several convicts in the Balyoz and Ergenekon cases.

Yılmazer, who is accused of having links to the Gülen movement, said on Monday during a hearing in İstanbul that even though the government calls those investigations “plots,” it was Erdoğan himself who gave the order to the bureaucrats to pursue them. Yılmazer was jailed following corruption probes implicating the Erdoğan government and is accused of having committed a range of crimes, from illegal wiretapping to involvement in the murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007.

Denying any negligence that resulted in Dink’s murder, Yılmazer said the authorities who were supposed to introduce better protection for Dink should be held accountable. Yılmazer was a unit chief in the intelligence department of the Ankara police force when Dink was assassinated by a teenager from Trabzon province.

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