World Bulletin / News Desk
Retired Gen. Çetin Doğan, a prime suspect in an ongoing case concerning the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot, defended military plans to overthrow the government when delivering his final statement against the accusations directed at him to the İstanbul 10th High Criminal Court on Thursday.
“I cannot understand why people were disturbed by the military's inclusion of plans for martial law for discussion [in the Balyoz coup plan] at a time when political party leaders kept reminding people of old, provocative remarks about the order of the country,” Doğan told the court.
By old, provocative remarks, the retired general was referring to the statement of a late politician who said in the late 1990s that the “fair order will come to Turkey, but what is worth discussing is if the order will come through bloodshed or not.
The Turkish military was "provoked" by the statement and forced the government of that politician, Necmettin Erbakan, who was the prime minister at the time, to resign in 1997.
According to Doğan, leading political figures made mention of Erbakan's remarks on several occasions, and the Turkish military decided to “take action against separatist and fundamentalist activities” at a military seminar where the Sledgehammer plan was discussed.
Sledgehammer is a suspected coup plot believed to have been devised in 2003 with the aim of unseating the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government through violent acts. According to the plan, the military was going to systematically foment chaos in society through violence, including bomb attacks on the Fatih and Beyazıt mosques in İstanbul. The plot allegedly sought to undermine the government to lay the groundwork for a coup d'état. The military, which has overthrown three governments since 1960 and pressured a conservative government into stepping down in 1997, has denied such a plan.
There are 365 suspects, all retired and active duty members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), in the Sledgehammer coup case. A total of 250 of the suspects are under arrest pending trial. They are accused of attempting to destroy a democratically elected government.
Doğan also had a quarrel with prosecutor Hüseyin Kaplan during Thursday's trial. The retired general accused prosecutors involved in the Sledgehammer case of preparing indictments against military members even though they were not familiar with military documents. In response, Kaplan smiled and shook his head. Doğan became angry and complained that the prosecutor was not taking his comments seriously.
Presiding judge Ömer Diken intervened and asked Doğan not to quarrel with the prosecutor. “The prosecutor is not your interlocutor. He is representing the people. I will not allow you to quarrel with him,” the judge told the retired general.
Kaplan also responded to Doğan's remarks and said the retired general had better answer questions directed by judges instead of engaging in a quarrel with prosecutors. “He [Doğan] is supposed to refute claims and accusations directed at him in the indictment instead of quarreling with a prosecutor. He said prosecutors are not familiar with military documents. He may be right. But neither the chief of General Staff nor other commanders understood what he meant in the Sledgehammer plan about the establishment of a ‘National Agreement Government' after the planned coup,” he said.
The first major museum in Turkey dedicated to toys has recently added to its collection a toy, which was produced in the United States in 1914 as a single toy for Charlie Chaplin's "The Tramp" character.
Ahmet Davutogly will meet with Ban Ki-Moon next week.
Erhan Tuncel, the suspected mastermind behind the killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink has been released.
Crew rescued by coastguard after water floods engine room.
Deputy PM Bulent Arinc said investigations have revealed the surveillance of tens of thousands of people.
The Russian plane remained in international airspace, according to a statement on the website of the military General Staff
It will be the first time Turkey's head of state is elected by the voters and not by the parliament following a change of the constitution
A Turkish court has ordered the release of former Chief of Staff Ilker Basbug.
The Turkish NGO appealed to International Criminal Court for fair result in the ongoing Mavi Marmara case against Israel.
Ocalan's supporters see the vote as a make-or-break moment for stalled peace talks aimed at ending 30 years of conflict
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will back Crimean Tatars to protect their rights amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Abdullah Gul told reporters under a recently passed law authorities could block access to material on such sites if a person's privacy is violated.
One of the unique services of Turkish Airlines: 'Sky Library' application.
According to findings, 257,454 people had their phones tapped in 2012 and 252,063 had their phones tapped in 2013, totalling 509,516 people over the two year period.
Britain’s former Foreign Secretary David Miliband says Turkey deserves applause in receiving Syrian refugees fleeing the violence in their country.
Turkish Airlines increased number of passengers by a quarter in 2013.