Report: Prime coup suspect requested help of army chief in proving innocence

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Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar (L) then-Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler (C), Retired Gen. Akın Öztürk, a former commander of the air forces (R)

Retired Gen. Akın Öztürk, a former commander of the air forces and one of the alleged leaders of a failed coup attempt on July 15 of last year, had sent letters to Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and then-Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler to seek their help in proving his innocence after his detention on July 18, 2016, the Hürriyet daily reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Öztürk asked for help from Akar and Güler in proving that he was not with the putschists on the night of July 15 and said “Please do what is necessary at the earliest” in his letter.

The letters were delivered to a prosecutor’s office in Ankara by Güler as “constituting evidence of a crime.”

Honorable commander, I have told prosecutor Serdar Coşkun about the incidents we experienced together on July 15 after two days of detention. Naturally, I cited you, Güler, the chief of the air forces and the other generals we rescued as witnesses. It carries vital importance for your testimonies to be included in the indictment prepared by the prosecutor. I sincerely believe that you will do what’s necessary on this issue,” Öztürk wrote in the letter addressed to Akar.

In the letter to Güler, Öztürk wrote: “You being a witness is very significant during preparation of the indictment by the prosecutor. That’s why I think it’s beneficial for you to intervene as soon as possible. I have no information on the events that unfolded. Some people put us in some places [a trap].”

Öztürk was detained along with many other military officers on July 18, immediately after the failed military coup attempt that killed 249 people – including civilians – in Turkey. Öztürk was arrested on July 19 on suspicion of plotting the coup.

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