Appointment of key coup suspect’s brother stirs controversy

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Şaban Dişli

The appointment of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Şaban Dişli, brother of Maj. Gen. Mehmet Dişli, one of the key suspects in a trial concerning a failed coup in Turkey last year, as a top advisor to party chairman and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sparked controversy among AKP deputies, a Hürriyet daily columnist wrote on Monday.

According to Hürriyet columnist Abdülkadir Selvi, AKP deputies who were informed about the appointment of Dişli during an official reception held to mark Victory Day on Aug. 30, were initially bewildered and tried to confirm the accuracy of the information.

Selvi said some of the deputies referred to the principle of individual criminal responsibility while others argued against it, asking why it is only Şaban Dişli who is benefiting from the principle.

According to security sources Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar was ordered by his private secretary, Maj. Gen. Dişli, to sign a coup declaration at gunpoint and read it out to the public. Upon his refusal to do so, a belt was tied around his neck and he was physically forced. The sources argue that force commanders were also held captive by their pro-coup secretaries and guards.

Denying the accusations against him, Dişli claimed he was with Gen. Akar from the beginning of the coup until to the end and that Gen. Akar might have misunderstood him under the influence of incidents.

A total of 486 people accused of taking part in the coup attempt last summer are standing trial. The suspects, who were thought to have received orders from Akıncı Airbase, were allegedly plotting to assassinate Erdoğan on the night of the coup attempt.

According to the Turkish government, Akıncı Airbase, northwest of Ankara, served as the headquarters for plotters, and the orders to bomb Parliament and overthrow Erdoğan were sent out from there.

More than 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges while more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants have been dismissed or suspended since the coup attempt.

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