Documents sent by the General Staff to a prosecutor investigating the Feb. 28, 1997 military coup have shown that then-chief of General Staff Gen. İsmail Hakkı Karadayı knew about an illegal group within the military, the West Study Group (BÇG), despite him earlier telling prosecutors that he knew nothing about the group, the Haber Türk daily reported on Monday.
Ret. Gen. Çevik Bir, a prime suspect in a case concerning the Feb. 28 coup, had stated that he received orders to set up the BÇG from Karadayı. However, in his testimony to the public prosecutor leading the investigation, Karadayı claimed that he did not know about the existence of the BÇG, which is believed to have been at the center of the staging of the coup.
Karadayı served as chief of General Staff at the time of the coup, on Feb. 28, 1997, when the Turkish military forced a coalition government, led by the now-defunct conservative Welfare Party (RP), out of power, citing alleged rising religious fundamentalism in the country.
The retired general is now among the suspects in a criminal case dealing with the coup. Karadayı was detained earlier this year but was later released pending trial by a court following his testimony.
Documents from the General Staff have shown that Karadayı discussed the BÇG with commanders at a meeting on May 2, 1997.
The BÇG was established within the military to categorize politicians, intellectuals, soldiers and bureaucrats according to their religious and ideological background during the Feb. 28 coup era.
Remarks of the former army chief at this meeting about alleged religious fundamentalism also made their way into the investigation dossier.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office last week submitted an indictment against suspected actors of the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed coup to an Ankara court. The indictment is said to refer to Karadayı as the prime suspect in the case.
The Ankara 13th Criminal Court received the 1,300-page indictment and has 15 days to either accept the indictment or send it back to prosecutors for revision once the document is presented to the court.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office launched the investigation into the military actors of the coup last year. There are currently 76 suspects in jail awaiting trial on coup charges.
CihanLast Mod: 28 Mayıs 2013, 10:51