A former member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has said he will reveal everything he knows about claims that a large number of civilians were armed with unregistered guns during a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is removed from power following the elections of 2023.
It was Sedat Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups and once a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who first claimed in a series of tweets in July 2021 that a large number of civilians were armed with unregistered guns during the July 15 coup attempt and afterward, under the coordination of then-minister of labor and current interior minister Süleyman Soylu.
There are widespread suspicions that the weapons delivered to civilians that night were not only used against the coup plotters but also to provoke people who took to the streets to suppress the coup attempt upon a call from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
During a debate program on Halk TV on Thursday, AKP İstanbul provincial chair at the time and current vice chair of the opposition Gelecek (Future) Party Selim Temurci said he was keeping quiet about the claims for now to protect the rights of loved ones and “people who shed their blood” on the night of the coup attempt.
Referring to the AKP government, Temurci said: “We see how they persecute people. Therefore, we have a responsibility to protect our loved ones and the people who shed their blood on July 15th. When the rule of law returns to Turkey, our friends will come out and say what is necessary. You can be sure of that.”
Temurci also stated that some AKP members who hadn’t spoken up would do so three or four months before the election and leave the party, saying, “Enough is enough” and that he, too, would reveal everything he knew about the claims on election night.
The former AKP member also said he is currently facing a lawsuit filed by President Erdoğan’s son-in-law and former finance minister Berat Albayrak because of his earlier comments on Peker’s claims.
Temurci claimed during a televised interview in July 2021 that Erdoğan and Albayrak were more likely to have been involved in the alleged arming of civilians during the attempted coup and afterward than Soylu.
“Who in the world can transport [unregistered] AK-47s in the car of the AKP İstanbul youth branch chairman and then distribute them [to civilians] without the knowledge of the president?” Temurci speculated.
“If my youth branch chairman was involved in such a thing, then let me say this clearly: I think Berat Albayrak must have been much more involved in this than Soylu,” he added.