Coup suspect general denies notifying army chief about unfolding coup attempt in Turkey

Chief of General Staff Gen. Akar (L) and one of the alleged coup leaders, Maj. Gen. Mehmet Dişli (R), were on the same helicopter that saved Akar from the coup plotters.

Maj. Gen. Mehmet Dişli, brother of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Şaban Dişli, who is accused of being among the ringleaders of a failed military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, has denied notifying chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar about the unfolding coup attempt on the night of July 15, saying that Akar might have misunderstood him.

Dişli is among 221 suspects accused of being ringleaders of the failed coup attempt on July 15 whose trial began at an Ankara court on May 22. There are over two dozen former Turkish generals among the 221 on trial.

During Tuesday’s hearing at the Ankara 17th High Criminal Court, Dişli delivered his defense in which he denied taking part in the coup attempt and denied a statement made by Gen. Akar who accused him of being the coup plotter who informed him about the coup attempt.

“Hulusi Akar is a commander with whom I worked for years. He knows his situation at that time the best. He might have misunderstood me due to the traumatic event he was undergoing,” said Dişli in his defense in court.

Dişli allegedly told Akar on the night of the coup attempt: “Mr. Commander, the operation is beginning. We will take everyone. Battalions, brigades are on the way. You will see soon.”

The major general is also being accused of being among a group of putschists who took Gen. Akar hostage on the night of the coup attempt.

In his defense, Dişli also denied being a member of the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding the failed coup attempt. Yet, the movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed coup.

“The only organization which I am a member of it is the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK),” Dişli said.

More than 240 people were killed in the coup attempt. Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is named as a co-plaintiff in the trial, while Gen. Akar, who was taken hostage by the coup plotters, is cited as a victim. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt. ( May 30, 2017

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