The major trial on the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016 began on Tuesday August 1 under strong security measures.
486 persons, among them many officers of the Turkish armed forces, are accused of conspiring against Recep Tayyip Erdogan. All of them, according to the indictment, had their headquarters at Akinci Air Force Base in Ankara. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as the head of the Turkish armed forces Hulusi Akar, through their lawyers, have asked to testify as prosecutors.
From the Akinci air base, orders were given to 24 F16 fighters to fly and attack the Turkish Presidential Palace, Parliament and many other targets. Many helicopters took off from the same base and brought the Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar hostage.
The trial takes place in a specially designed room in Sincan, at the outskirts of Ankara. It is tragic irony that in 1997 the Turkish generals had brought the battle tanks in that area to send a message of determination to the then Islamist Prime Minister Necmetin Erbakan, who was forced to resign after a few weeks.
Many protesters outside the courtroom also wore uniforms that reminded those of the detainee’s in the military prison of Guantanamo in Cuba.
Erdogan had said in mid-July that those accused of the coup and are on trial should wear the same uniform “as (those) in Guantanamo”.
Among the accused, 461 are detained, seven have escaped, and the rest have been allowed to go free until the trial.
The main accused are not in Turkey!
The main a suspect who is being judged in his absence is Fethullah Gulen, a self-appointed preacher, whom Ankara accuses of being the brain behind the coup. Adil Oksuz, who is believed to be the operational leader of the coup, has also escaped. The impressive fact is that he was arrested after the coup and after 3 days he was left free!
Former Air Force Chief Akin Ozturk is also included among the suspects who are jailed. He is accused of being the general who gave orders to the coup instigators. He denies all charges.
Many charges have been brought against the suspects, from an attempt to kill Erdogan to breach of the constitution.
Today the decision about the heads of armed forces
On Tuesday evening, the Turkish president invited Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildizim to their office in Istanbul. The two men discussed today’s meeting of the Supreme Military Council, which will be chaired by Yildirim and in which decisions will be taken on the hierarchy of the armed forces.
Analysts believe that surprising decisions could be taken. On the night of the coup, almost all the chiefs of the arms had been held hostages in the hands of the instigators.
The resignation-forced retirement
Turkey’s Director of Religious Affairs Mehmet Gormez, to the surprise of many, has asked for his retirement.
Gormez was the one who, on the night of the coup, had instructed all the country’s imams to read prayers to support Erdogan.
His departure from his post provoked talks in Turkey. Hurriyet’s columnist Abdulkadir Selvi had revealed that on the night of July 15, Guiermez was at the headquarters of the Turkish secret services, with MIT commander Hakan Fidan, and had as a guest an imam of the Syrian Opposition. When hearing the news of the attempted coup he instructed that prayers would be read after about 11 in the evening./IBNA