World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said calling ex-army chief arrested in a coup trial "terrorist" is "very wrong".
General Ilker Basbug, along with politicians, academics, journalists and other retired army officers, are being tried in connection with alleged membership in the Ergenekon terrorist organization and his involvement in issuing the infamous Internet memorandum, in which the General Staff sponsored websites that were launched for slander campaigns against Erdogan's government.
Speaking on the topic of the detained military officials, Erdogan stated that it is “very wrong” that the former Chief of General Staff Ilker Basbug is being charged with being a member of a terrorist organization.
Erdogan said the following regarding the subject:
"In Turkey, the principle of the separation of powers, as the legislative, executive and judicial, is very susceptible to the branches interfering in each other’s domains. As you know, during the period of [former president] Sezer, there had also been a parliamentary speech almost placing the judiciary over the other branches. And those statements received much criticism. Because there is no time in which the judiciary can have superiority over the executive, or the executive over the judiciary, or the legislative over the others. Each must provide service in the domain specified in the constitution. In this process, it is a grave error to refer to any of our generals, particularly former Chief of General Staff Ilker Basbug, as “a terrorist organization member” in the conventional sense. This is inexpiable.
"Although those who make this accusation may feel secure due to their current position of authority, history will not forgive them. The Turkish Armed Forces may be an organization, but it is not a terrorist organization, it is a constitutional organization. If you say this is the head of the constitutional organization, all right. But when you said it is a terrorist organization, you then render our Turkish Armed Forces as such. There is nothing forgivable about this, it is a grave error.”