Turkish chief of staff, commanders visit family of officer fallen during coup attempt

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 09.08.2016 12:19
Updated 09.08.2016 15:21
A citizen holding a magazine and a Turkish flag protests Gülenist terror-cult leader Fetullah Gülen as Chief of Staff Akar getting ready to leave in with his car, in Ankara, on August 9. (AA Photo)
A citizen holding a magazine and a Turkish flag protests Gülenist terror-cult leader Fetullah Gülen as Chief of Staff Akar getting ready to leave in with his car, in Ankara, on August 9. (AA Photo)

Late on Monday, Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar and force commanders paid a visit in Ankara to the home of the family of Sergeant Ömer Halisdemir, who fought the putschists and died at the Special Forces Command.

Akar was accompanied by Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Ümit Dündar, Army Commander Gen Salih Zeki Çolak, Air Forces Commander Gen Abidin Ünal, Navy Commander Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu and Gendarmarie Commander Gen Yaşar Güler.

A crowd gathered near the home of the Halisdemir family greeting the commanders with applause and slogans.

The visit lasted around half an hour. After the visit, Akar said, "We are sorry for our loss and offer our condolences to our nation."

The 42-year-old Halisdemir, an aide to Special Forces Commander Zekai Aksakallı, was killed by the coup plotters after he shot dead Brigadier General Semih Terzi outside the headquarters of Special Forces Command, during a failed attempt by the coup soldiers led by Terzi to seize the building.

Aksakallı was not at the headquarters at the time, and managed to escape from the coup troops who sought to kill him. He later recounted how he ordered Halisdemir by phone to shoot Terzi, a senior junta leader who was assigned to take over the headquarters with the coup plotters. "This was my last order to him, and I told him it was a fatal task. He said only 'Yes, sir,'" Aksakallı told Turkish media after the coup attempt was foiled. Halisdemir, hiding behind a tree in the headquarters' courtyard, shot Terzi in the head while the latter was walking towards the entrance. Other coup-participating troops immediately slaughtered the sergeant following Terzi's death, in dramatic moments captured on security camera footage released on Thursday.

The killing of Terzi was a major blow to the putschists and their operation, who intended to bring more special forces to major cities during their attempted coup.

As a result of the attempted coup, 246 people were killed, including 62 police officers and 179 civilians, while 1,500 others were injured. Some 24 participants in the attempted coup were also killed.

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