Kılıçdaroğlu: Pilot who informed of coup beforehand recruited by MİT to prevent him from testifying

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Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Head of the Republican People's Party (CHP), delivers a speech during his party's group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, Turkey on June 06, 2017. AFP

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu claimed on Tuesday that Maj. O.K., a pilot who informed Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in advance of a coup attempt last summer, was recruited as a member of MİT in order to prevent him from testifying to prosecutors.

Speaking during his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “As far as we understand, [MİT] hid the information provided by O.K. that some soldiers would carry out a coup. Why did they hide it from the public? We also have learned that this information was not shared with the General Staff. And later, O.K. was recruited by MİT, in order to prevent prosecutors from hearing his testimony.”

A ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) supported bill was passed by Parliament in February 2012 to prevent prosecutors from inviting MİT members to testify without permission from the prime minister after a crisis erupted earlier that year when a prosecutor sought to summon MİT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan and three other top MİT officials to testify over allegations stemming from MİT discussions with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), known as the Oslo talks.

According to a story in the Cumhuriyet daily on May 21, O.K. personally went and informed MİT at 14:30 on July 15, 2016, about seven hours before the coup attempt started.

At 14:30 I told two persons that ‘a helicopter will take [MİT Undersecretary] Hakan Fidan. I do not know what the other helicopters will do.’ They asked me what that could mean. I told them this could be a big activity, even a coup attempt,” O.K. said in his testimony to a prosecutor on Aug. 11, 2016. O.K. added that MİT sent him back to his unit after putting a wire on him.

In his testimony Maj. O.K. also said he had been linked to the Gülen movement, accused by Turkish authorities of being behind the failed coup, but severed his ties to the movement in 2014. He also said he did not understand why he was given this critical job despite the fact that there were 100 pilots in Ankara and even though he had severed relations two years earlier.

Stating that the testimony contradicted government propaganda that the major only informed MİT that Fidan would be abducted by a military helicopter, Cumhuriyet noted that the testimony of O.K. was not entered into some 30 indictments that have been drafted by prosecutors on the July 15 coup attempt.

The question still persists as to why Fidan informed neither President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan nor Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım during those seven hours, despite the fact that he had learned of the coup attempt at 14:30. Fidan did not testify to a prosecutor or to the parliamentary Coup Investigation Commission.

The role of Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and Fidan has been at the center of many questions concerning the July 15 coup attempt.

Chief of General Staff Gen. Akar and MİT Undersecretary Fidan had a six-hour meeting in Ankara a day before the failed coup, news website OdaTV reported in February.

According to official reports, Fidan was with Akar at military headquarters until 20:30, half an hour before the coup attempt was launched.

Despite both President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Yıldırım having expressed uneasiness with Fidan and Akar for failing to inform them about the 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 145,000 people from state institutions were purged and jailed by the government after the coup attempt.

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