"They have a list of names, and they have it all. We're all on this list. Some generals have been taken, and then one by one it will come to us. We have to do this today. We have to act first," was what Hasan Hüsnü Balıkçı told fellow pilots before the July 15 coup attempt started last year. As a pilot lieutenant colonel acting upon the orders of his "brothers" and point men of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), Balıkçı would join the coup plotters who launched airstrikes during the coup attempt that killed 250 people on July 15, 2016.
That night, his orders in the military, similar to the other coup pilots, were taken from Staff Col. Ahmet Özçetin, operation commander of Akıncı Air Base, where the coup plotters oversaw the nationwide attempt to seize power.
The aforementioned dialogue has revealed that FETÖ planned the July 15 attempt as a means of pushing back against government plans to weed out its members who had infiltrated the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). It is also clear that FETÖ attempted the coup using pilots from Air Force Command, which had almost been turned into a "parallel" Air Force under the control of the terrorist group.
Since the 80s, FETÖ had organized at Air Force Command and, of course, at Army Aviation Command, taking advantage of the weaknesses and systemic gaps in the state.
Who the participating F-16 coup pilots are and what crimes they committed are detailed starting on page 1,137 of the Akıncı Base indictment drafted by prosecutors investigating the putsch attempt.
The following are the names of the pilots and their crimes, as well as their connections to FETÖ: The pilot Staff Capt. Hüseyin Türk, according to testimony of Sinan Kurt, his "brother" who used the codename "Hasan" in the group.
Türk obediently fulfilled every order given at the 4th Akıncı Main Jet Base Command on the night of the coup. Earlier that evening, he had gathered trainee pilots, distributed duties and gave orders. At 3:24 a.m. and 3:25 a.m., Hüseyin fired two MK-82 bombs at the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) with a 93-0663-tail-numbered F-16 using the Aslan-6 code, injuring 32 people. More importantly, at 12:33 a.m., with a 93-0691-tail-numbered F-16 using the Aslan-3 code, pilot Uğur Uzunoğlu fired a GBU-10 bomb at the Special Operations Department in Gölbaşı that led to the death of 44 heroes.
Türk also fired 4 MK-82 bombs at the facilities of TÜRKSAT, a state-run satellite provider, with an F-16 using the Aslan-6 code at 3:14, 3:15, 3:17 and 3:19 a.m.
At 2:35 a.m. on July 15, 2016, Hasan Hüsnü Balıkçı fired a GBU-10 bomb at the Turkish Grand National Assembly with a 94-0105-tail-numbered F-16 jet using the Aslan-5 code along with pilot Uğur Uzunoğlu.
According to the indictment, another member of the "parallel" Air Forces is Maj. Mustafa Azametli. He marked the targets of Gölbaşı Turkish Police Aviation Department with laser pods. They had specifically targeted the air elements of the Turkish National Police (EGM), such as special operations. They had planned an air-based strike and wanted to break the resistance in advance to avoid any opposition in the air.
Müslüm Macit, like Türk, was linked to FETÖ through "brother" Sinan Kurt. He has been associated with the terrorist group since his time in the military school.
At 6:19 a.m., he fired two MK-82 bombs at the parking lot and intersection near the Presidential Palace with a 93-0671-tail-numbered F-16 using the Aslan-6 code, killing 15 people and injuring seven.
FETÖ's "pilot" Uğur Uzunoğlu, accompanied by Türk, fired a GBU-10 bomb at the special operations department of the Turkish National Police with a 93-0691 tail numbered F-16 jet using the code of Aslan-3 at 12:00:33 a.m. At 2:35 a.m., he fired a GBU-10 bomb at the TBMM with a 94-0105-tail-numbered F-16 using the Aslan-5 code alongside fellow pilot Balıkçı.
Mehmet Çetin Kaplan was operating under FETÖ member Alper Küçük, code named "Tarık." Accompanied by Ertan Koral, Kaplan fired a GBU-10 bomb at the Turkish Police Aviation Department with a 94-0110-tail-numbered F-16 using the Aslan-1-2 code. In addition, he marked the targets with laser pods. He was seen in the security footage of the 141st fleet corridor at 11:25:05-11:25:12 p.m. He took eight people, who were brought handcuffed to the Akıncı base, from the tower area. Accompanied by Macit, he escorted the people to the room where they were imprisoned.
Koral, accompanied by Çetin Kaplan, fired a GBU-10 bomb at the Turkish National Police Aviation Department with a 94-0110-tail-numbered F-16 using the Aslan-1-2 code. Likewise, he marked the targets with laser pods.
Ekrem Aydoğdu marked the targets using laser pods and fired a GBU-10 bomb at the Turkish National Police Aviation Department with Çetin Kaplan.
İlhami Aygül fired two units of GBU-10 bombs at the headquarters of Ankara police, together with pilot Mehmet Yurdakul. According to the statement in the indictment, he flew over Ankara exceeding Mach 1, purposefully breaking the sound barrier. On July 15, FETÖ's pilots broke the sound barrier to create sonic booms. Yurdakul, operating under "brother" Ufuk Işık, was among those creating sonic booms in Ankara's skies that night.
Oğuz Alper Emrah had a critical role in the coup bid, though he was not successful. His mission was to block the flight of the president's plane, which escaped being a target because its pilots managed to hide the plane from radars. İlker Hazinedar, a trainer pilot captain, had a similar mission upon the orders of coup plotters and he failed, too.
Selahattin Yorulmaz, who was tied to Ufuk Işık, flew low over Ankara with a 94-1563-tail-numbered F-16 loaded with ammunition.
Ufuk Işık is also linked to Yücel Canbolat and Adem Kırcı, two pilots who tried to incite panic through loud sonic booms designed to prevent the public from confronting the putschists, a mission they ultimately failed thanks to the strong public resistance.
Diyarbakır, a southeastern city housing a military base used for anti-terror airstrikes, was also used by FETÖ-linked pilots joining the coup attempt in Ankara. Yavuz Demir took off from Diyarbakır 8th Main Jet Base Command with his F-16 and flew to Ankara where he performed "sonic boom" missions. İbrahim Yozgat, Erdem Erdoğan, Fatih Şen and Ersel Emanet accompanied him in their fighter jets. Ahmet Özdemir and Ceyhan Karakurt, two pilots deployed in Diyarbakır, took photos of the hotel where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was staying during the coup attempt.
Yıldıray Korkmaz, a pilot staff captain who was found to be linked to FETÖ starting from his days in the military school, came to the Akıncı base on July 15 and was involved in the killing of eight people opposing the coup at the entrance of military lodgings at the base.
Along with fighter jet pilots, pilots commanding light and cargo planes also played significant roles in the coup bid. One of them was Reşat Bora. With his CASA plane, he was assigned to fly Air Force Cdr. Abidin Ünal to Istanbul where Ünal would attend the wedding of a general's daughter. After the coup attempt started, he took the said aircraft to Sabiha Gökçen Airport through the direction of Cdr. Temel Karagöz. He also took Air Force Cdr. Abidin Unal, who was held hostage there, and the others to Akıncı.
Erdem Bafralıoğlu was serving in the 124th Fleet Command at the 2nd Main Jet Base Command in Çiğli, İzmir. He brought Kubilay Selçuk, the suspect who managed and organized the coup attempt, from Izmir to Ankara by cargo plane.
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