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Turkish gov’t narrative of 2016 coup attempt upended by newly discovered video footage

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New video footage indicates that contrary to the official narrative, Turkey’s then-chief of general staff left an airbase held by putschists on the night of a July 15, 2016 coup attempt without problem and landed in a safe place in Ankara along with a key suspect of the abortive military putsch.

The new video footage was discovered last week by Turkish journalist Kamil Maman and shown on VideonTR, an online news channel on YouTube.

According to the official story as reported in 2016 pro-government news outlets, Hulusi Akar, now Turkey’s defense minister, was held hostage by the putschists during the coup attempt and was rescued in a military operation from Akıncılar Airbase, the headquarters of the coup plotters.

However, the new footage indicates that Akar left the base with Maj. Gen. Mehmet Dişli, one of the alleged leaders of the coup attempt, and landed at the Çankaya palace in Ankara in a helicopter. In that video Akar appears unharmed and in control of the situation.

Col. Uğur Kapan, the pilot of the helicopter, was later accused of coup involvement. A prosecutor has demanded a life sentence in his ongoing trial.

Kapan changed his testimony in court and denied having seen key coup suspect Adil Öksüz at the airbase, saying he was ordered by Akar that day to pilot the helicopter.

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