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221 ex-military officers apply to testify against Turkish defense minister in dispute with opposition deputy

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A total of 221 retired Turkish military officers have applied to a court to testify against Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in a dispute with an opposition deputy, the Sözcü daily reported on Friday.

Last year during a parliamentary session, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Özgür Özel accused Akar of abandoning former Turkish officers in the Ergenekon and Balyoz coup plotting cases against them.

Akar, the former chief of general staff, in return, filed a lawsuit against Özel for slander.

Akar’s lawyers have challenged the applications from the retired officers, underlining that animosity exists among them, according to the report.

“This proves I was right,” Özel told Sözcü.

Akar, 67, was deputy chief of General Staff between 2011 and 2013, and chief of General Staff between 2015 and 2018.

He was reportedly taken hostage during a failed coup in July 2016.

After the June 2018 presidential elections, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed him as defense minister.

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