MİT head had unusual meeting with army chief, Gen. Aksakallı on July 14, says suspected putschist

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Chief of General Staff of Turkey, Hulusi Akar (R) and Turkey's Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan (L) are seen as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (not seen) meets King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa (not seen) in Manama, Bahrain on February 12, 2017.

In a development that raises further suspicion about a failed coup attempt on July 15,2016 in Turkey being a controlled one, several military officers who stand trial on coup charges have said National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan had an unusual meeting with chief of General Staff  Gen. Hulusi Akar and Special Forces Commander Lt. Gen. Zekai Aksakallı.

A total of 69 military officers are standing trial at the Ankara 14th High Criminal Court concerning the clashes that took place at the Special Forces Command (ÖKK) in Ankara on the night of the failed coup attempt, which claimed the lives of more than 240 people and injured a thousand others.

During the 7th hearing of the trial on Tuesday, one of the suspects Turgay Usanmaz, the coordinating officer for the Special Forces Commander, said the date of a graduation ceremony that would normally take place at the ÖKK on July 15, was withdrawn to July 14 in an unexpected manner.

Usanmaz said following the graduation ceremony, a dinner was arranged at 8 pm and Gen. Akar took Fidan and sat around another table.

“This was something which we did not see or witness before. I am telling this as someone who took part in the previous [graduation] ceremony. They had both dinner and spoke to each other alone for 3,5 hours. Akar left at 23:30 pm. Then Zekai Pasha and the MİT head walked in the area you made investigations for 30-40 minutes. This also attracted our attention. After seeing off the guests, Zekai Pasha left at 00:30 am,” said Usanmaz, adding that he has the belief that Gen. Aksakallı had prior knowledge about the coup attempt.

Usanmaz also said while he was under detention, he was subjected to acts of torture and it was Gen. Aksakallı who first began committing acts of torture on him.

Many questions about what happened on the day and night of the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey persist.  It was revealed by the OdaTV news portal in March that Gen. Akar and MİT head Fidan had a six-hour meeting in Ankara a day before the coup attempt.

According to previous 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 150,000 people from state institutions were purged and jailed by the government after the coup attempt.

The military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a 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.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.

Contrary to accusations made by President Erdoğan and the Turkish government, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament concluded in March that Gülen and the movement he inspired as a whole were not behind the failed coup in Turkey.

The UK Parliament statement came a week after Germany rejected Erdoğan and the Turkish government’s accusations against the Gülen movement about July 15.

The head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, said Turkey could not convince them that US-based Turkish-Islamic scholar Gülen was behind the failed coup in July.

Similarly, Devin Nunes, chairman of United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he has not seen any evidence showing Gülen’s involvement in the putsch in Turkey.

In addition, a report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge.

 

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