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Brig. Gen. Evrim says July 15 coup attempt was planned to fail

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Brig. Gen. Hakan Evrim, a suspect in the July 15 coup attempt trial and commander of Akıncı Airbase, where Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar was taken hostage, said on Monday that the coup attempt seems to have been planned to fail by someone operating outside of Turkish Armed Force (TSK) methods, DHA reported.

“On July 15 at 14-15:00 p.m., [National Intelligence Organization] MİT received information that a coup attempt would take place. The chief of general staff was informed about it at 17:00. A coup attempt that could have been prevented by sending an order to all units that no one should leave their garrison or by calling all military personnel back to their units was not prevented due to the lack of a few simple measures. Despite the fact that intelligence about the coup was received at about 14:00, President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] learned about it from his brother-in-law. The chief of general staff, according to the indictment, learned it from [Gen.] Mehmet Dişli, and other commanders learned it from the military members who detained them. How does that work?” Evrim said during his defense at the Ankara 17th High Criminal Court in Sincan where 221 suspects accused of being ringleaders of the failed coup attempt on July 15 are standing trial.

In this regard, referring to the testimony of Bülent Bostanoğlu, commander of the navy, in the indictment, Evrim said: “He said that that day they arrived at a wedding ceremony at 19:30 going on at an İstanbul hotel. He said he sent his adjutant and driver home in order to avoid being detained by coup plotters as part of security measures. So he confessed that he knew about the coup attempt at 19:30 and even knew that the coup attempt which was planned for the next day at 03:00 had moved forward. That is clear evidence that the coup attempt was not prevented despite the fact that it was known about beforehand.”

Claiming that half of the commanders in the air forces were attending the wedding ceremony on the night of the coup, Evrim said: “Most of those commanders are now under arrest. If those commanders are members of FETÖ [a derogatory term used by President Erdoğan and the government for the Gülen movement], why did they attend a wedding ceremony that night? If an organization plans a coup, why did they not plan to get the commanders of the airbase ready to use aircraft?”

“According to the indictment, 10 percent of TSK personnel were used during the coup. If this was the final effort of the organization, why they did not use a large enough number of personnel? Why they did not use the police who were dismissed and arrested for being members of FETÖ?” added Evrim.

Drawing attention to the swift response of the government to the coup attempt, Evrim recalled a statement made by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on a TV program on the night of July 15 that “there has been a coup attempt, there are some groups using weapons of the state against citizens. They will quickly learn who those groups are and take the necessary measures.”

“Mr. Prime Minister said this at 23:02. It is also mentioned in the indictment. Before the prime minister finished speaking, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had launched an investigation into the coup plotters at lightning speed, at 23:05. They were sure no police were part of it at that hour, and they launched an investigation only into military personnel.

“At midnight trucks belonging to the state and municipality loaded with sand were parked in front of the headquarters of the Etimesgut Armored Unit under orders that tanks could not leave the garrison. The next day, the [Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors] HSYK had an emergency meeting to evaluate the situation of pro-FETÖ judges and prosecutors. Detention lists were issued in the morning. SMS messages were sent to military personnel to return to their units. A travel ban was imposed. I am leaving it to your judgment as to how was it possible to do this without any preparations made in advance,” added Evrim.

Regarding the jet attacks on Parliament and police headquarters, Evrim said those attacks could not have been part of a coup attempt that was meant to succeed.

“It’s not possible to understand why Parliament was bombed. In order to destroy that building you would need to have 35 or 40 F-16s. Moreover, the Parliament building was bombed during the hours when the coup attempt was seen as already having failed. Hence, when number of F-16s used during the coup attempt, the targets and times of the bombings are taken into consideration, it can be understood that the F-16s were used not for the coup but rather to shape public perception.”

Recalling the situation of Adil Öksüz, the prime civilian suspect in the coup attempt, Brig. Gen. Evrim asked why an investigation into the people who were responsible for the release of Öksüz despite the fact that he had been detained on the night of the coup were only launched seven months later the incident.

Evrim also said in order to prevent the coup, Chief of General Staff Gen. Akar proposed alternative solutions to the military personnel at Akıncı Airbase.

Denying claims by Akar that Evrim offered to put him in touch with Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen by phone on the night of the coup, Evrim said:

“Hulusi Akar, Akın Öztürk, Kubilay Selçuk and Mehmet Dişli were in the room. Akar said he agreed with the accusations and that the country should be get out of its difficulties. He said meeting with [former President] Abdullah Gül, [former Prime Minister] Ahmet Davutoğlu and other party members would be useful. I said if you want, I can help you have phone conversations with the leaders of civil society, and opposition party members as well. I was not there to persuade Akar. I was taken there by force.”

Evrim also said if it had been a real coup attempt, the security cameras at the airbase would have been shut down in advance.

“This was not a coup attempt that originated with the TSK. It was carried out by people who knew nothing about planning. July 15 was planned to fail.”

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