In Wednesday's hearings in trials regarding last year's bloody coup attempt, blamed on the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), defendants claimed they were "victims of a plot" and denied the charges brought against them in two separate hearings in capital Ankara. Former Col. Osman Kardal and former Col. Ümit Bak, who respectively ordered military units to join the coup attempt and complied with illegal orders, testified in two separate hearings with one claiming he was not involved in the coup in any way while the other said he was simply following orders. Former Col. Kardal, who was stationed at the Office of the Chief of General Staff, was a member of the Peace At Home Council of the military junta, according to prosecutors.
The council, which consisted of 38 high-ranking military officers, tried to seize power on behalf of FETÖ but was met with strong public resistance as citizens thwarted the putsch bid. A total of 250 people were killed while resisting the coup. Kardal is accused of giving martial law directives representing the putschists to several military units in the country. In court yesterday, Kardal claimed he was unaware of any "coup messages," claiming he did not send them. The former colonel said he was "conspired against" by those using his name and his post as the head of the international operations department at the headquarters of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
Former Col. Ümit Bak "complied" with one of the directives sent by Kardal and other putschist officers on July 15 according to his testimony in the court where he is being tried for heading putschists who aimed to take over Turkey's elite Special Forces Command. Bak was the commander of the Special Forces' military base when Semih Terzi, a pro-coup general, arrived to assume the duties of Zekai Aksakallı, the commander of Turkish Special Forces. The colonel is accused of partaking in the coup attempt and dismissing the orders of Aksakallı. In his testimony, Bak claimed that he was first ordered to step up security against "terror threats" in an order from the army headquarters before being given a second order regarding the "assignment of Semih Terzi as the new commander." Bak claimed he did not question the orders despite receiving phone calls from Aksakallı, who was fleeing putschists who tried to capture him on the night of the coup attempt. Bak hung up the phone on Aksakallı and went on to allow Terzi onto the base. Terzi was then shot dead by Ömer Halisdemir, an anti-coup officer on the base who was killed by soldiers accompanying Terzi.
Bak claimed that he hid the original order for the coup from other officers even though he acknowledged that he "followed orders" to allow Semih Terzi onto the base, deploying troops at the entrance of the base against a crowd of anti-coup officers. He said Terzi was killed because "he knew too much" and said that "unnatural things" happened that night. The colonel, who was arrested when troops under the command of Aksakallı regained control of the base, also claimed that a list found in his wallet containing the names of putschist officers was not "his."
In coup trials underway across Turkey, hundreds of military officers and civilian members of FETÖ accused of helping the military junta in its putsch bid face multiple life sentences. Kardal is among 221 defendants in the main trial centered around the raid of army headquarters and the abduction of Army Chief Hulusi Akar. Bak is among dozens of defendants accused of joining the putschists at the Special Forces military base in the capital Ankara. U.S.-based former preacher and leader of FETÖ Fetullah Gülen is the prime suspect in all coup trials for his role in masterminding the coup attempt. Gülen, Bak, Kardal and numerous others face multiple life sentences for the coup, including terror and homicide charges.
Most defendants, despite the mounting evidence showing their involvement, deny the charges brought before them in the courts. FETÖ planted its men - and women - in every institution ranging from the army to law enforcement for decades before it openly declared war against the Turkish state and waged two coup attempts in 2013. Disguised with code names and accused of using secretive methods of correspondence and a distinct secular lifestyle worlds away from what FETÖ promotes as a religious life, its members infiltrated positions in key institutions that they ultimately sought to take over.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.