Top military aide says he could have assassinated Erdoğan if he had wanted to

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Defendant Ali Yazıcı arrives for his third trial under heavy security measures at the Mugla Chamber of Commerce and Industry's conference hall in Muğla, Turkey on July 13, 2017. Mustafa Ciftci / Anadolu Agency

Former top military aide of Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan Ali Yazıcı, a defendant in a trial of suspects accused of taking part in a failed coup in 2016 and plotting to assassinate Erdoğan, has said he was in a position to be able to assassinate Erdoğan and that he could have done it if he had wanted to.

Speaking during a hearing in Muğla, Yazıcı said: “I was together with President Erdoğan 24 hours a day, and I sometimes had my gun with me. I am being accused of helping to plan his assassination. if I ever thought of doing something like that, I was in a position to do it.”

Yazıcı, who argued he might have been trapped, tricked and manipulated concerning the coup attempt, had previously said it was President Erdoğan himself who selected him as his military aide after an extensive background check and that if he had had any links to the Gülen movement, Erdoğan would not have chosen him.

When asked who could have masterminded the coup attempt, Yazıcı said: “I have been thinking about this for 10 months but could not reach a conclusion.”

In his defense, Yazıcı denied having any links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding the putsch. The movement strongly denies having any links to the coup attempt.

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