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HomeHeadlineThe ‘Cover-Up’ Commission of the July 15 Coup Attempt in Turkey-3

The ‘Cover-Up’ Commission of the July 15 Coup Attempt in Turkey-3

Mehmet Tahsin*

We continue to scrutinize the names that the July 15 Coup Attempt Investigation Committee invited and listened to. In the following part of the article, I will provide brief notes about the individuals who spoke before the committee and include some excerpts from what they told the committee.

THEOLOGY PROFESSOR MUSTAFA ÖZTÜRK

He is one of the individuals who testified before the committee, as mentioned in the previous article alongside Şafak Ertan Çomaklı. Öztürk begins his statement by describing how he wholeheartedly fought against the Gülen Movement. He refers to his article dated December 28, 2013, immediately after the December 17/25 operations, claiming that he was the one who coined the term “Assassin” for the first time. Following his criticism of Bediüzzaman (Master of the time) Said Nursi, he narrates rumors about Fethullah Gülen in hookah cafes as if presenting the results of a scientific study.

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Mustafa Ozturk

In a religious school, a novice stands before his teacher and asks, “Who is that saint whose daughter was eaten by wolves in Kerbela?”

The teacher smiles and replies, “My child, he is not a saint but a prophet. Not his daughter but his son. Not in Kerbela but in Kenan Province. He was not eaten by wolves but thrown into a well.”

The teacher’s stories are also like that. For instance, he managed to convince the committee members of the lie that “Fethullah Gülen met with the head of the National Intelligence Organization, Fuat Doğu, at Vehbi Koç’s house when he was only 21 years old in 1971.”

Likewise, he cannot be unaware that the first issue of the Sızıntı Magazine, which he claims to have started a few months after the September 12 coup, was actually published in February 1979. Furthermore, while telling that Fethullah Gülen was convicted in 1999 but managed to escape and later benefited from amnesty, he seems too meticulous (!) of a researcher to even think of consulting Google for correct information. After all, at the time of his testimony, Wikipedia was not yet banned, and he could have accessed accurate information if he wanted to.

When a terrorism case was filed against Fethullah Gülen in the State Security Court (DGM), he lived in the United States, and the Ankara 11th Heavy Penal Court ruled that the crime did not occur in accordance with the Anti-Terrorism Act on March 2007, acquitting Gülen. In June 2008, the decision of acquittal was unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court General Assembly.

Professor Mustafa Öztürk’s statements were roughly like this. Four years after speaking to the parliamentary committee, he resigned and moved abroad, stating that he received death threats after his speech on YouTube, in which he said, “The Quran cannot be the book of Allah.” The AKP, to which he provided unlimited support during the December 17/25 corruption investigations, did not stand by him.

RETIRED GENDARME STAFF COLONEL MUSTAFA ÖNSEL

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Mustafa Onsel

He is one of the individuals who spoke during the third meeting of the committee. Before delving into Önsel’s account, let’s take a look at who he is. Mustafa Önsel, who is currently a columnist for Oda TV, was the 154th defendant in the Sledgehammer Case and was released in 2014 by the decision of the Constitutional Court after serving 4 years in prison on the grounds of being a member of the team that prepared the coup plans.

The accusation against Önsel in the Sledgehammer Case was to prepare the list of personnel to be assigned after the coup. Among the digital evidence found on Önsel’s computer was also a list of names to be arrested after the coup. Let’s keep it brief since our topic is not Sledgehammer; let’s just remind that some of those whose names were found on the list of personnel to be assigned without their knowledge were sentenced to life imprisonment after July 15.

Long before July 15, Soner Polat and Doğu Perinçek confirmed that they, along with retired Colonel Ahmet Zeki Üçok and retired Brigadier General Soner Polat, handed over the profiling lists prepared by Mustafa Önsel to the MIT. Apparently, the Committee found it necessary to listen to Önsel because of his expertise in profiling (!). However, we should note that some of Önsel’s claims were firmly refuted by former Chief of General Staff Hilmi Özkök, who would be heard in the next session.

THE MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF JULY 15, EFKAN ALA,

He was heard in the Committee’s session on October 18, 2016. Efkan Ala was the most important figure who was in office on the night of July 15 but lost his position. While Hulusi Akar and Hakan Fidan, the two most important actors of July 15, remained in their positions despite numerous negligence allegations, the dismissal of Efkan Ala was a surprise. There might have been some truth in the allegations that on July 15, Erdogan’s location was communicated by Ala or that he wanted to escape to Georgia by plane later that night, even though he denied it. However, from a question asked to him in the committee, we learn that, like Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, nobody called him on the night of July 15.

AHMET AKGÜNDÜZ, THE RECTOR OF ROTTERDAM ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY

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Ahmet Akgunduz

He is another individual who spoke before the committee. Akgündüz stirred controversy right from the beginning of his speech by referring to the Gezi events as a coup attempt. Chairman Reşat Petek tried to eject Sezgin Tanrıkulu, who objected to Akgündüz’s statement.

In his one-hour speech, Akgündüz claims that his negative opinion about the Gülen Movement dates back to 1978. However, we know that he made an effort to be close to the movement for many years. For example, he seems to have forgotten that some of his books, which are also in my library, were published by the Gülen Movement’s publishing house, Nil Publications, in the 1990s. I attribute the factual errors in his speech, such as mentioning someone from the Gülen Movement who wanted to subscribe to Zaman Newspaper in September 1986, to his fading memory. Since Zaman started publishing in November 1986 and later switched to a subscription system, he should have known that.

Ahmet Akgündüz is still serving as the rector of Rotterdam Islamic University. He claims to have realized that the Gülen Movement was a “project” in 1978, but he finds it difficult to explain why prominent figures of the movement were members of the university’s board of trustees for many years. If you claim to have understood that the movement was a “project” 40 years ago, then why did you work with these people? However, no one seems to have thought of asking him that.

In 2018, when he issued a death fatwa against the Gülen Movement, it was considered hate speech in the Netherlands and caused a crisis.

In the next article, we will discuss the individuals who spoke before the committee, namely Nevzat Tarhan, Mehmet Ağar, Nedim Şener, and Hüseyin Gülerce.

*Mehmet Tahsin is a journalist and columnist for TR724.com

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