New revelation: Military, intel chiefs met for 6 hours the day before coup attempt

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (C) poses with head of Turkey's intelligence service Hakan Fidan (R) and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, who he accused of failing to inform him about a coup attempt on July 15 despite the fact that they had learned of the coup plan six hours earlier, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Nov. 18.

While many questions about what happened on the day and night of a July 15 coup attempt in Turkey persist, it was recently revealed that Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan had a six-hour meeting in Ankara a day before the coup attempt, news website OdaTV reported on Monday.

Müyesser Yıldız wrote in her column on the site that she has confirmed the meeting, which was revealed by Tech. Sgt. Mehmet Bilge during his defense in court where he along with others is standing trial on putsch-related charges.

According to Yıldız, the meeting of Fidan and Akar took place following a diploma ceremony at the Special Forces Command in Ankara on July 14.

“The specialization course diploma ceremony at the Special Forces Command was first planned to take place on July 15, a Friday, as all previous ceremonies had been. But a few days earlier it was announced that the ceremony would be held on July 14, on Thursday,” wrote Yıldız, underlining the odd change in the day of the ceremony.

According to the article, despite the fact that only the deputy chief of general staff used to participate in the Special Forces Command ceremony, Gen. Akar chose to attend this particular diploma ceremony. Although the ceremony ended at 18:00, Akar and Fidan had a one-on-one meeting until 00:30.

“If the July 15 [coup attempt] had not taken place, this meeting would probably never have attracted attention… Is it not interesting that the two secret names of the coup attempt had a six-hour meeting just a day before the coup and that no one has talked about the meeting for seven months, despite the fact that many knew about it?” asked Yıldız at the end of her article.

The role of Chief of General Staff Gen. Akar and MİT Undersecretary Fidan has been at the center of many questions concerning the July 15 coup attempt. According to official reports, a major informed MİT about the coup plan at 14:00 and Fidan was with Akar at military headquarters until 20:30, half an hour before the failed coup attempt was launched.

Despite both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım having expressed their uneasiness with Fidan and Akar for failing to inform them about a coup attempt on July 15, and the fact that they had learned of the coup plan six hours earlier notwithstanding, the two retained their posts while over 130,000 people from state institutions were purged and jailed by the government after the coup attempt.

The government also prevented the parliamentary Coup Investigation Commission, which was set up to investigate the failed coup attempt, from questioning Akar and Fidan about the putsch.

“We got this information … but we did not have a chance to prove or verify it … because the parliamentary Coup Investigation Commission was annulled by [President] Erdoğan,” said Aykut Erdoğdu, an opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy and member of the commission, in a Twitter message about the article by Müyesser Yıldız.

In December Erdoğdu had hinted that the failed coup on July 15 was a calculated move on the part of President Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

Erdoğdu also said in October that the AKP was trying to obscure the realities behind the failed coup attempt on July 15 since the commission was being prevented from doing its job by “hidden hands.”

“The strongest and dirtiest hidden hand [to prevent the commission from continuing its investigation] is the ‘palace’ [Erdoğan’s] hand. It seems like the July 15 coup attempt was a Middle Eastern attempt,” Erdoğdu said.

Columnist Mehmet Tezkan also criticized the commission: “The parliamentary Coup Commission has walked around the coup attempt for three months. They tried their best not to reveal how the coup attempt was carried out, who took part in it and who was trapped.”

Although the Turkish military stated on July 27 that 8,651 military members including cadets and conscripts took part in the July 15 coup attempt, the government has dismissed over 22,000 military personnel including high-ranking generals.

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.

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.

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.

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