The new command cadres of the Turkish Armed Forces were determined at the High Military Council meeting held in the Palace. After the vacancy left by Minister of National Defense Yaşar Güler, Lieutenant General Metin Gürak was appointed as the Chief of General Staff. Gürak came to the public agenda multiple times before and on the night of July 15 due to his critical role played during that time. His actions and orders on that night sparked numerous debates.
Journalist Adem Yavuz Arslan wrote an extensive article describing Gürak’s role on July 15.
The article on TR724 contains the following information:
“According to the official narrative of the government regarding July 15, upon the call of the then Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, Metin Gürak left his unit and went to Etimesgut Armored Units School and Army Aviation School at 18:15 in the evening.
Gürak conveyed Akar’s order of “no tanks to be dispatched from Etimesgut” to the relevant authorities and reported that there was nothing abnormal at the Army Aviation School despite seeing helicopters ready for flight at the runway.
Later, while he was going home, he decided to return to the General Staff.
Despite the warning of the officer at the door, stating “there is a terrorist attack, do not approach,” he tried to enter and almost “took himself hostage.”
However, what he should have done was to directly give the order he forwarded to other units to the units under his own responsibility.
Strangely, when Metin Gürak went to Etimesgut to prevent tanks from being dispatched, he could not think of giving the order “no one should leave the barracks” to his own unit.
Moreover, he did not give any orders to the units under the 4th Corps.
He does not give any orders to these units, and they take to the streets.
In fact, Metin Gürak makes one of the most critical moves on July 15. Frankly, he “allows” the tank image that is necessary to portray the image of a coup.
This situation shows that you are part of the plot. Otherwise, not only would you not be promoted, but you would have been arrested on the same evening.
Although it doesn’t matter what you did and where you were on the evening of July 15. Because the purges and arrests were based on the profiling files completed two months before July 15.
WHY DID LIVE AMMUNITION DRILLS INCREASE? In the same article, there is another detail about Gürak that has never been mentioned before.
According to the records of Ankara 20th Heavy Penal Court, Metin Gürak made a critical move during the period leading up to July 15.
He emphasized the importance of drills called EMASYA, later changed to KOKTOD (Supporting Law Enforcement Forces in Social Incidents).
In fact, he ordered drills to be conducted every three months, and in the last week before July 15, he had live ammunition drills.
Metin Gürak’s KOKTOD drills were conducted frequently, and the drills with live ammunition were used to prepare his units mentally to take to the streets.
Indeed, hundreds of soldiers who were tried in the 20th Heavy Penal Court testified that when an emergency call was made, they went to the barracks without questioning, loaded their equipment and ammunition, thinking there was a “terrorist attack” on the General Staff until they reached Sıhhiye.
Metin Gürak personally inspected the drills and ordered one of the battalions to repeat the preparations because he didn’t like them.
The importance of what I am saying here is that everyone was already on edge due to terrorist attacks. Scenarios of social incidents and chaos were written and drawn. On top of that, the commander emphasized the importance of the drills, followed them personally, and had drills with live ammunition, breaking with tradition.
Regardless of their rank, the soldiers who experienced these situations were already conditioned. When they were called on the evening of July 15, they rushed to their barracks, took their equipment, and boarded vehicles without questioning.
Indeed, the staff officer I spoke to extensively about that night fell into the trap due to this conditioning. When they were called, they didn’t know what was happening or what they were going to do. The Corps Commander was missing, the Brigade Commander was not around, and around 30 staff officers from other units were called from the War Academy to the 28th Mechanized Brigade without knowing why they were directed there. They didn’t interfere with anything and just sat until morning, and the next morning, all of them were arrested.
Even though they did not participate in any activity, they were branded as “coup plotters” just because they were in the barracks that evening.
The situation of the staff officer I spoke to was the same.
So much so that the prosecutor couldn’t even make any accusations. His presence at the headquarters was considered sufficient. Three out of four sentences of the 4-sentence indictment were quoted from his unit’s own investigation.
Even though no one in the 28th Mechanized Brigade’s internal investigation said “they supported the coup, cooperated,” they could not avoid receiving aggravated life sentences.
In other words, one phone call turned their lives upside down. If he hadn’t answered the phone or if his phone had run out of battery, the situation could have been very different for him.
According to the staff officer, the effect of the KOKTOD drills that Metin Gürak conducted intensively before July 15 was significant in their fall into the trap.
GÜRAK’S UNOFFICIAL MEETINGS
Another colleague of Metin Gürak shared interesting details about what happened after July 15.
According to the staff officer who was suspended and dismissed months after July 15, Metin Gürak attended the preparatory meetings for the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) held at the General Staff Headquarters.
However, these meetings were not official YAŞ preparatory meetings.
These were unofficial meetings where those who would be purged were determined. Despite being a Lieutenant General at that time, his attendance at these meetings gives an idea of Gürak’s role on July 15.
Afterwards, he received promotions, and he was assigned to the issue of Libya, which was of great importance to the Erdoğan family.
While Lieutenant General Metin İyidil, who did not have any tanks coming out of his unit that night, was arrested and tried for life, Metin Gürak, whose units took to the streets, received promotion after promotion.
For those who want to see, this situation speaks volumes.”