Coup commander: Military chief’s advisor told us coup was within chain of command

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Col. Muhsin Kutsi Barış, commander of the Guard Regiment, said in court on Monday that the top adviser of Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar told them that a coup attempt was in order and within the chain of command.

“One of the soldiers said there was a secret message that the military had taken control. In order to verify it I called the deputy chief of general staff but could not reach him. After that I called the chief’s top adviser and confirmed the information. He said it was a coup, that it was in order and within the chain of command,” said Barış during his defense at the Ankara 13th High Criminal Court where 27 suspects are being tried for detaining Fahri Kasırga, the presidential secretary-general, during the coup attempt on the night of July 15.

Another suspect, Mutlu Serkan Vurdem, said in his defense there was a military exercise alarm and that he acted accordingly without knowing it was a coup attempt.

“I did not understand it was a coup until President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a statement. Two people visited me in Sincan Prison and told me I could be released if I would give them information. When I saw the indictment, I realized that they did not include my testimony in it. I have concerns that my testimony is being used with additions,” said Vurdem.

Rejecting claims that he is linked to the Gülen movement, Vurdem said: “All upper commanders were aware of the coup. Around 17:00 to 18:00 all commanders knew it. Their hands were tied.”

In another coup case on Monday, Brig. Gen. Gökhan Şahin Sönmezateş, the commander of the team that targeted President Erdoğan’s hotel in Marmaris on the night of the failed coup, said in court that they received an order from the office of the Chief Of General Staff but were intentionally deceived and kept waiting for four hours, news website Artıgercek reported on Monday.

“While the whole world knew the president had gone to İstanbul, we were sent there, into a trap. … I am trying to find an answer to the question of ‘Who deceived us and kept us waiting for four hours?’”

Erdoğan called the botched coup a great gift of God as he immediately put the blame on the Gülen movement.

A report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that although President Erdoğan and the Turkish government immediately put the blame for the July 15 failed coup on the faith-based Gülen movement, the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge, according to a report by The Times newspaper on Jan. 17.

The Aldrimer.no website reported on Jan. 25 that NATO sources believe the coup was staged by the president of Turkey himself.

Speaking to vocaleurope.com, a former Turkish officer who served at NATO headquarters in Brussels but was sacked and recalled to Turkey as part of an investigation into the failed coup on July 15 claims that the putsch was clumsily executed and never intended to bring down the government, but rather served as a vehicle for President Erdoğan to eliminate opponents and the ultranationalists to take a prominent role in the military and impose their “Eurasian” agenda on the country.

Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention due to their alleged links to the movement.

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