Turkish army chief says tries to speak less as a public official

Necdet Ozel condemned the seperatist approaches intented to harm and sow discord among Turkish Armed Forces after the discharge of his colleauges

Turkish army chief says tries to speak less as a public official

World Bulletin/News Desk

Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel has responded to criticisms by some circles over his silence in the face of recent court rulings against senior military officers on coup plotting charges, saying as a public official whose duties are set out by laws, he prefers speaking less.

“The chief of General Staff is the commander of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and a public official who has responsibility against the state and whose duties and authorities are set out by laws. I think a public official should analyze correctly where, what and when to speak. That's why, I am trying to not to speak much or be on the agenda much,” Ozel said on Monday.

He was responding to questions raised by critics of recent trials involving senior military officers, who have criticized him for remaining silent in the face of convictions of dozens of defendants in these trials.

He stated that lessons should be taken from the past, and by letting it go, Turkey needed to focus on its future and "keep our union and peace."

He was qouted as saying “firstly we share the prisoners' families' grief and sorrow. By the time I was appointed for the duty, arrests had already been made, proofs collected and investigations completed and the proceeding started off.”

The historical judicial decisions should be discussed among specialists and the results should be reviewed by executive and legislative powers, added Ozel.

The 9th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals earlier this month announced its ruling in an appeal of a previous ruling in the Sledgehammer (Balyoz) coup plot trial, upholding convictions of 237 of the defendants, which include former and active duty military officers.

Sledgehammer is a coup plot created at a military gathering in 2003. According to the plan, the military was to systematically foment chaos in society through violent acts, among which were planned bomb attacks on the Fatih and Beyazıt mosques in İstanbul.

The plot allegedly sought to undermine the government, laying the groundwork for a military takeover. Those convicted were found guilty of making a failed attempt to overthrow the government.

Last Mod: 21 Ekim 2013, 15:07
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