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HomeHeadlineThe 'Cover-Up' Commission of the July 15 Coup Attempt in Turkey!

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

MEHMET TAHSİN*

It has been 7 years since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey. The question “What happened that night?” still remains unanswered. Anyone who goes beyond the official discourse finds themselves in prison. Journalists, most of whom are in exile, present information and documents from millions of pages found in indictments and additional folders, as well as from court transcripts and open sources, which reveal that the official narrative does not correspond to the truth.

Just a few months ago, in an interview with Cansu Çamlıbel, Cengiz Çandar, senior columnist, and a Middle East expert and member of the National Assembly of Türkey, said the following: “We are still at the beginning of understanding what happened on July 15. I am not sure if what has been told to Turkey and the world about that night is really what happened. We need to further investigate what happened on July 15. Therefore, I don’t like to discuss it based on the narratives produced by July 15. […] Let’s discuss whether what we have been told about July 15 is really what it was.”

So, who will discuss, investigate, write, and speak? By appointing trustees to Koza İpek Media Group in October 2015, followed by the seizure of Zaman Media Group, effectively rendering them unable to broadcast, the Regime silenced the feeble voices remaining in the media by imprisoning numerous journalists after the July 15 coup attempt. Media owners like Turgay Ciner, Aydın Doğan, and Ferit Şahenk were forced to hand over their media outlets to the government out of fear. The largest media group in Turkey, Doğan Group, was even forced to withdraw from the sector. The opposition had already thrown in the towel. By participating in the Yenikapı rally and giving unlimited credit to Erdoğan from the very beginning, their subsequent objections became ineffective.

THE INVESTIGATION(COMMISSION) OF THE JULY 15 COUP ATTEMPT

In this article, I want to discuss the report of the parliamentary investigation commission established to investigate the July 15 coup attempt.

The commission, which was established on July 26, 2016, with a normal term of three months, held its first meeting on October 4, 2016, and its final meeting on January 4, 2017. The opposition’s requests to extend the term for another month were thwarted by President Erdoğan, who stated, “The Coup Commission has conducted its work. I believe it would be appropriate if they complete their work, take the final steps, and submit their report.”

The commission held a total of 22 meetings, lasting 142 hours. They listened to 50 individuals and obtained information from 141 people.

Among the 50 individuals heard by the commission were academics, military personnel, law enforcement officers, theologians, politicians, journalists, and some civilians. However, it is interesting to note that the former Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar was absent. Former Chief of General Staffs Hilmi Özkök and İlker Başbuğ came and testified before the commission, but Akar, the central figure of that night, did not appear. Former Chief of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Emre Taner came and gave a statement, but Hakan Fidan did not.

According to the minutes of the commission meetings, Fidan and Akar were invited to the commission a total of 9 times but did not respond to the invitations.

Fortunately, 4.5 months after the commission’s final meeting, Hakan Fidan, who had refused to provide information to the commission, responded to the questions in writing on November 24, 2017, and Hulusi Akar on November 30, 2017. I would also like to remind that the draft report of the commission was published on May 25, 2017.

There is one more name; the former President of the Directorate of Religious Affairs, Mehmet Görmez, who had dinner with Hakan Fidan at the MIT headquarters on the evening of July 15, is not among the speakers before the commission. However, the previous President, Ali Bardakoğlu, is present!

INVESTIGATION(COMMISSION) OF THE MAY 27 AND SEPTEMBER 12 COUPS (2012)

Similar commissions were established in the past. I looked into who testified before the Parliamentary Investigation Commission established in 2012 to investigate the May 27, 1960, and September 12, 1980 coups. Starting with Süleyman Demirel, who was the Prime Minister during the September 12 period and later became the 9th President of the Republic, politicians, journalists, members of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), and even some individuals involved in the coups provided information to the commission.

However, for some reason, the main actors of the July 15 coup attempt did not deign to appear before the Parliamentary Investigation Commission. They only sent a letter to make a statement. It is not just Akar, Fidan, and Görmez; many dubious figures such as Air Force Commander Abidin Ünal, Deputy Chief of General Staff Yaşar Güler, and Major General Yavuz Türkgenci, who entered among the military students killed on the bridge but made no effort to save them, did not have the courage to appear before the commission. Even Special Forces Commander Zekai Aksakallı, who fled to his home on the night of July 15 and responded with “I am comforting my wife” when ordered to return to the headquarters, did not respond to the commission’s invitation, citing “I am in Syria, I have work there.”

On the other hand, Fethullah Gülen, who was declared as the number one responsible for the coup attempt, said on July 16, “If there is such an allegation, let an international organization investigate this matter, and I am willing to accept the outcome.” Not a single person from the accused side of the coup attempt was given the opportunity to speak. On the contrary, individuals with criminal records or dubious backgrounds who had previous conflicts with the Gülen movement used their right to speak extensively before the commission.

WHY WAS THE REPORT OF THE COMMISSION NOT DISCLOSED?

Now let’s talk about the fate of the commission’s report. Remember that Recep T. Erdoğan prevented the extension of the commission’s term, saying, “The Coup Commission has conducted its work. I believe it would be appropriate if they complete their work, take the final steps, and submit their report.” However, for some reason, the report prepared after three months of work was never shared with the public.

According to the behind-the-scenes information conveyed by journalist Barış Pehlivan, “During the publication process, important lawyers, including the Speaker of the Parliament, visit AKP officials and say, ‘Look, the truths, allegations, and facts in this coup report can cause trouble for you in the future. A report published by the Parliament on the international stage would also facilitate the work of the Gülenists. It could put Turkey in a difficult situation internationally and lead to the payment of compensations. Let’s not officially print this report in the Parliament.'” The deputy chairman of the commission, Selçuk Özdağ, confirmed this information.

WHO PROVIDED INFORMATION TO THE COMMISSION?

So far, we have discussed those who were called to the Parliamentary Investigation Commission but did not attend. This issue has also been widely covered in the media. In the next section, let’s focus on the individuals who personally appeared before the commission to provide information. Because when we look at the table in the report, we see that about 50 individuals, ranging from a neighborhood headman in Çengelköy to a mafia boss, from a defendant in the Sledgehammer case to a professor with a criminal record, came and testified before the commission.

In the next article, let’s examine these individuals who appeared before the commission to provide information.

MEHMET TAHSIN is a journalist and columnist at TR724.com.

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