Former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ has backtracked on his statements over the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism, an alleged coup plot that sought to overthrow the government, which he called a “piece of paper.”
The former army chief, accused of attempting to overthrow the government by force, was arrested in early January as part of a probe into propaganda websites allegedly established by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to undermine the government.
On Jan 5, while testifying to the prosecutor who is spearheading the investigation and a day before he was arrested, Başbuğ said the document containing the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism was a photocopy of a “piece of paper” and recalled that a military prosecutor had declared that the document had not been prepared at the General Staff and that no further action was necessary.
After the plot was published in the Taraf daily on June 12, 2009, Başbuğ, who served as chief of General Staff between 2008 and 2010, called the time Turkey spent on dealing with his “piece of paper” remark a waste of energy, belittling the importance of the document in statements he made on June 26. The investigation into the propaganda websites and the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism were merged by the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court in August 2011.
“This document did not fit into a definition, and for that reason I called it a ‘piece of paper.' I did not take part in a psychological operation as claimed,” he said in his testimony, which was published in the Hürriyet daily on Friday.
Başbuğ said the first document of the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism published in the newspapers was a photocopy of a “piece of paper,” but he admitted that the copy with Col. Dursun Çiçek's “wet signature” on it, which emerged later, was a document, according to his testimony. “I cannot call it a photocopy [of a piece of paper]. A decision concerning it will be made by the judicial bodies,” he said, adding he did not order the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism to be drafted.
While rejecting accusations of attempting to overthrow the government by force, Başbuğ said he first heard about the anti-government propaganda websites from the papers on Nov. 4, 2009, as he was not asked to approve of these websites while serving as chief of General Staff.
Başbuğ said on Feb. 4, 2009, that he ordered the websites to be investigated and that the websites were subsequently shut down. “I did not meddle with what was published on these websites,” he said. The former army chief further noted that he had nothing to do with deleting the websites' content. “I was not informed that the content of the websites was deleted. I learned what the content was after seeing the indictment [of the investigation concerning the propaganda websites],” he added.
The former army chief also referred to light anti-tank weapons found buried in İstanbul's Poyrazköy district -- stored by the coup plotters for future use, the prosecution says -- as “pipes.” He said he made that statement as a reflex to protect the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
CihanGüncelleme Tarihi: 10 Şubat 2012, 17:41