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Why is July 15th still not being clarified?

If I said “not being clarified”, that is for a particular group of people.

Otherwise, according to a large group of people, Turkey does not have such a problem. There is also no situation to be clarified. “Everything is pretty obvious crystal clear.

Despite the tangible and serious question marks, the ceremonious July 15th story is solemnly accepted as if it is real by the majority of the Turkish people. The reality has no buyer. Both the questions and the ones who ask the questions are not satisfactory at all. The greatest reason for this is the absence of a real civil society in Turkey. We don’t have a society structure which is independent from state, possesses democratic maturity, has latitudinarians, and takes actions according to rules and principles. The media, judicial system, and the civil society organizations are nowhere near like these. Instead, we are a country consists of large and small camps.

It is difficult even to talk about a real nation. There are social camps in Turkey, and they have endless “wars” between each other. We are formed by rooted sociological tribes who act by belief instead of knowledge, presupposition instead of ideas, and conquest/victory motivation instead of principles. Every one of them has an own sense of society and state, and approaches according to their ideology or beliefs. Every one of them lives with their own sacred things and enemies. Under these circumstances, each group sees the opposite group as a harmful element, which needs to be destroyed, defeated, triumphed over, kneeled down, brought into line, and if possible exterminated. One’s disaster is another’s rejoicing, and one’s happiness is the other’s sorrow.

The ruler’s ceremonious July 15th discourse was bought, because they wanted to believe in it. All of the sociological tribes bought this discourse, except the Gulen movement and a few others. Because this was exactly what they wanted to achieve. Every group of people started to have their own community, hatred, and antipathy. They all got what they wanted.

For example, nobody would believe today if any evidences surface to prove Erdogan is the sole perpetrator of July 15th. They wouldn’t want to believe. Whatever effect the nullification tapes made back in December 17th, the same effect of July 15th evidences would make. They wouldn’t have any effects on the result. Because nobody would want to wake up from this “sweet dream”, or break the mold. “It was a dream, which became a reality.” Because, it is not about obtaining the reality or not , for the thing which is being worried about. Or it is about if the idea, which is being followed, is right and just. It is about if the thing they want to happen is presented. And that is covered more than enough.

Right now, it is not about tampering this “absolute truth”, but celebrating the victory, and acknowledging this myth every passing year more ritually, spiritually, nationally, and fabled.
Therefore, the need for a “traditional day” is covered with July 15th for AKP (Justice and Development Party), who couldn’t manage to create a group euphoria with May 29ths, which never had worked for them.

Such a coup attempt would have been solved in a country which is governed with a healthy democracy, and everything would have been fit together. This is the reason why free and independent media, unbiased justice, and civil society with a real meaning exist. However, since all of these are bind to Erdogan now and essentially all of these organizations were never manage to be civilian or independent, Turkey missed another huge opportunity which meant clearance, transparency, democratization.

This cursed incident has two main stories. One of them is AKP’s ceremonious discourse, and the other one is Gulen Movement’s own defense. Since both of them prioritize their own in-group goals, each of them is blind and deaf against the other. Nobody is implicitly after the truth. Both of them are after their own group’s defense or victory. Hence, they need the other’s shortcomings. All of these shortcomings, dark spots, and the questions which cannot be answered provide a basis for the attacks.

As a matter of fact, there are tens, hundreds of questions which cannot be answered by the owners of two different stories. The reality is somewhere in between the two.

However, if it was just the opposite, and the actual members of the “Gulen Movement” would start searching answers for the contradictions, shortcomings, and the points which require explanations, that dark night would be enlightened long since. But for this, they must have been democratic crowds, who had already succeeded putting the “truth” over their own group’s interests.

On the contrary, since everybody is acting with the belongingness and motivation of their own groups, they keep singing the same song in their own neighborhood.

So these two “enemies of camps” are like this, but the other “tribes” who keep their distance for both are any different? No. Just like I have stated above, since they believe “let them eat themselves” or “Gulen movement could not be cleansed in any other way”, they keep surfing under the same wind of lies.

An example: Sedat Ergin, who is considered to have mastered the subject and have the best knowledge over the July 15th files… In the interview he gave to İpek Özbey, who is from his own newspaper, he manipulates two main points about the day and night of the coup. At one point for example, he says “In my opinion, the person who changed the course of the coup attempt is Major Osman Karacan. He is an army officer who hails from the Gulen movement. The coup plotters give him a duty that night. His duty is to make an operation to the MIT Müsteşarlığı (Undersecretariat of the National Intelligence Organization) and take Hakan Fidan in. And he comes to MIT in the afternoon and reports this incident to them.” He doesn’t even mention a word about that Major Osman Karacan was the one who reported the coup attempt before it started.

However, on Hürriyet newspaper dated 29 May 2017, which is his own newspaper, Karacan stated “I reported the coup”. Karacan had given a secret statement to Harun Kodalak, the then Chief Public Prosecutor of Ankara, and Necip Cem İşçimen, Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor who carries out the main investigation for July 15th. Hürriyet Daily published this statement. Air Force Major said, “I remember very well that I said it might be a coup”. Meaning it was not only a report just to tell about kidnapping Hakan Fidan, the Head of National Intelligence Organization.

Sabah Daily also published these reports the following day and emphasized on the news about the fact that Karacan actually had reported the coup.

However, despite this fact, Sedat Ergin clouds this very important information. While mentioning the kidnapping duty of Fidan, he ignores the “reporting of the coup”.

So why does he do that? The answer lies within his following statements: “Probably even Fidan coming to the headquarters (General Staff) is enough to make the coup plotters suspicious. These movements allow the coup plotters to come to a conclusion that there is an inside infiltration, and the opposition is already aware of the coup preparations. Since it is backdated, the coup cannot be carried out as exactly planned.

Since Ergin holds on to the official thesis which dictates that the coup was actually going to happen at 03:00, he misses the “reporting of the coup” deliberately. In fact, if the coup was already reported, it would have been prevented. It must have been prevented. But it was not. Thus, to whitewash this bloody scandal, they come up with this lie: “That was not a reporting of the coup, actually that was the reporting about the kidnapping of Fidan”.Hakan Fidan, Head of National Intelligence Agency, and Hulusi Akar, current Minister of Defense, repeated the same lie within their official papers sent to TBMM (Grand National Assembly of Turkey). So Sedat Ergin cannot cross the lines of this circle.

Alright then, the question is: “Since the coup was going to start at 3 a.m in the morning, why did the Special Forces team as assigned to raid the General Staff headquarters and “secure” Hulusi Akar in the evening hours? Why did the assignment of bringing the commanders in from the headquarters planned days before? Would the commanders still be working in the headquarters at 3 a.m in the morning?” All of the statements, course of action and preparations show that the Special Forces team was getting ready to go there in the evening.

Another question is: “Since the coup was going to start at 3 a.m in the morning, why were the MAK teams of Konya 3rd Main Air Force Base told to depart to pick up Abidin Ünal and the generals accompanying him from the wedding in the evening? A wedding at 3am in the morning?” Or let’s ask the other way around: “Would there be anything left from a coup where the Air Force Commander and other generals would be brought in at 3am in the morning?” Everybody would realize.

As a matter of fact, there is not one tangible information in the bill of indictment about how the coup was backdated. It is uncertain who made this decision, how and where. There is no evidence, detail, or statement about this. They only want to fill in the gap as they see fit by saying “They panicked, and backdated the coup”. However, there must be tens of footprints, tangible evidences, data, and statements after such a quick and critical decision change in such an important night. None of these exist.

Also, it is not clear how Mr. Hakan Fidan would have been kidnapped from the MIT compound. The statements favor that there would be a raid to the headquarters, but it is a mystery how the preparations were made towards his residence.

Moreover, Fidan moving to the headquarters where it was reported he would be kidnapped from after leaving the General Staff, eating with the then Head of Directorate of Religious Affairs and Syrian dissident Muaz El-Hatip, not giving information to these guests, the President, or the Prime Minister after the coup attempt started are all big question marks waiting to be answered.

I listed the question marks in this topic in an article with the title “Coup was planned to be started at 8:30pm” in 13 June 2017. If you are curious, you are welcome to read it in details.

Come to think of it, Sedat Ergin is widely known as a finical and one of the most objective journalists who have the best command over the subject. With this consciousness and style, how could July 15th be ever solved?

Another example is Aydın Engin, from Cumhuriyet. He also stated, while criticizing the people who speaks on behalf of the Gulen movement in his article titled “Two years ago yesterday” published on July 16th, said, “They are nearly bringing the subject to “actually Erdogan prepared and carried out July 15,th” therefore, this is not any different from Muharrem İnce talking about how the June 24th elections were quite democratic in every platform, or Erdogan talking about how they achieved a real triumph and actually legalizing it. The perception which Erdogan couldn’t create to convince his opponents with the help of the pool media, “the man” created quite well.

And Aydın Engin closed all the gaps, and answered all the questions with only one sentence, which Erdogan and his staff couldn’t manage to for 2 years.

Alright then, how does Mr. Engin explain hundreds of important questions and contradictions about July 15th? What is his alternative scenario, and thesis?

As if the recent history is not filled with such conspiracy theories itself. Aydın Engin cannot be unaware of how Stalin managed to uncloak the “doctors’ plot” for the final big cleansing before his death. It would also be an insult to say Engin does not know or heard about Hitler’s Reichstag Fire. He also wouldn’t forget Atatürk’s İzmir Assassination conspiracy.

And yet, does our doyen really think that Erdogan is a very high character who wouldn’t even resort to such methods? Does he really not expect such lowness from him? No, what differs Erdogan from the past dictators?

Here is the bottom line: 2 years have passed, and we keep spinning on the same spots. And the ground is damaged while we keep spinning on the same spot. It is not going to change any time soon with this understanding. It’s no use closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

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Ahmet Donmez
Ahmet Donmez
Ahmet Donmez is an author and one of the best Turkish investigative journalists in exile.

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