Eighteen coup suspect generals released in Turkey over lack of evidence

At least 18 generals and admirals, whose names were at an alleged list of the military commanders who were allegedly appointed by putschist “the Council of Peace At Homeland,” have been released by Turkish courts so far over lack of solid evidence.

According to a report by neo-nationalist Sözcü daily on Tuesday,  the generals and the admirals, who were detained and jailed since their names were listed by alleged putschist Gen. Mehmet Partigöç on the behalf of the Council of Peace At Homeland, were released over lack of evidence about them and no risk of hiding possible evidences. 

The report said that 3rd Corps Commander Lieutenant General Erdal Öztürk was named İstanbul Martial Law Commander on the appointment list of the coup makers. However, since Öztürk took anti-coup attempt stance on July 15, 2016, he was released by İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court. In addition to Öztürk, other former commanders mentioned in the martial law list such as Major General Veli Yıldırım, Brigadier General Şener Yazıcıoğlu, Rear Admiral Ömer Mesut Ak and Brigadier General Ali Akyürek were also released from prison.

Generals Murat Yaygın and Celalettin Çoban, Rear Admiral Ercan İnceoğlu, who were also arrested for being on the assignment list for Ankara, were also released by Ankara 19th High Criminal Court. Murat Yaygın, the Human Resources Director of the National Defence Minister, was assigned by the Council as the Head of State Personnel Department according to the list. General Celalettin Çoban, the head of the National Defence Ministry’s Mine Action Center, was also appointed to the Land Forces Command Intelligence Directorate according to the list. Ercan İnceoglu, Head of the General Plan and Principles Department at the National Defence Ministry, was also assigned to the Marine Education and Training Command in the list. Former EDOK Schools Commander Lieutenant General Abdullah Barutçu, who was also named on the list, was also released to Ankara 2nd High Criminal Court.

Former Operations Chief of Staff Brigadier General Ersin Yıldırım at 2nd Army in Malatya province was also arrested based on the alleged martial law list. General Yıldırım was also released by the Malatya 1st High Criminal Court last April. However, he was arrested again a week later upon an objection by the prosecutor. Yıldırım was one of the four names released from prison last week in Malatya.

The name of Brigadier General İsmet Gökhan Gülmez, who was former Afyonkarahisar Supply and Garrison Commander, was also on list of the martial law and was released by Afyon 2nd High Criminal Court.

The name of Brigadier General Adnan Arslan, who was former Gendarmerie Regional Commander in Tokat province, was also appeared on the appointment list as Martial Law Commander in Tokat. Arslan was released from prison one year after his arrest.

Major General Salih Sevil, who was former Chief of Staff of NATO Land Command; Brigadier General Osman Nadir Saylan, who was former Commander of Fortification School and Training Center; Brigadier General Ersal Ölmez, who was former Commander of Gaziemir Air Force Schools; and Major General Mustafa İlter, who was former Commander of Transportation Staff and Education were among those who were released by İzmir 2nd High Criminal Court.

In Şırnak province, the name of Major General Abdullah Baysar, former commander of 23rd Gendarmerie Border Division, was also listed as a Şırnak Martial Law Commander. Beside of Baysar Brigadier General Mesut Savaş, former commander of Şırnak’s Akçay 6th Motor Infantry Brigade were released after it was understood that they were against the coup although they were listed at the martial law assignments’ list.

The release of generals has come as a total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to information given by Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Tuesday. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “Even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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