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.
Suspects among 9 seized in joint operation, Macedonia's interior minister says
Turkish army, Kurd-backed forces clash in north Syria
Female officers will be able to wear plain hijab as part of official uniform
As part of the mega construction project, the new Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will direct traffic away from Istanbul, cutting congestion, pollution
Senior Pakistani official confirms that countries will operate 'comprehensive' health management agreement
Targeting 'innocent people' contradicts 'all humanitarian values and doctrines of divine religions,' Kuwaiti emir says
2 former Turkish ambassadors also remanded on charges related to defeated coup
Turkish president and Russian counterpart discuss range of issues in Friday phone call
Turkish-US friendship group co-chair says US needs to show solidarity with Turkey by extraditing failed coup's mastermind
Free Syrian Army soldiers and Jarabulus residents show gratitude to Turkish soldiers after their retaking of Jarabulus, Syria, in Euphrates Shield operation
Incident in Hatay province leaves 18 other people injured
Government wants new fund to keep growth on track, limit economic damage from failed coup
President says attacks like Friday's Sirnak bomb which martyred 11 police will only increase Turkey's determination
Following attack that killed 11 police officers, PM Minister Binali Yildirim says Turkey will make extremist PKK collapse
Anti-extremism officers carry out separate operations in central and southern Turkey
Despite some changes in Turkey post-coup, however the Turkish ambassador to the Ukraine has said that focus on what remains the same is crucial