Parliament to probe coup attempts

The parliamentary Human Rights Committee will be taking up recent allegations that some high-ranking military officials are "blacklisting" some ministers and deputies, by the Turkish Armed Forces.

Parliament to probe coup attempts

The parliamentary Human Rights Committee will be taking up recentallegations that some high-ranking military officials are"blacklisting" some ministers and deputies, that the Turkish ArmedForces (TSK) categorizes media organs according to their attitudes towards theTSK and that some generals in the TSK attempted to stage a coup in 2004.

The Human Rights Commission held its first meeting in nine months last week.The next meeting, where the military will be charged with these three claims ofviolating democratic principles, is scheduled for today. Faruk Ünsal, deputy chairmanof the committee from the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) referred tothe allegations as "scary and frightening," while the main oppositionRepublican People's Party's (CHP) Mesut Deðer expressed his hope that suchincidents would end in Turkey.

The first serious accusation concerning activities of the TSKoccurring "outside the law" was a news story first printed in Zaman daily anddocumented by former politician Hasan Celal Güzel. According to the report,Former Gendarmerie Commander Þener Eruygur had compiled a "blacklist" ofministers and parliament members.

Another charge, also disclosed by the media, documented that themilitary had classified members of the media into two groups depending onwhether they had positive or negative opinions of the military. The most recentallegation was based on a diary that allegedly belonged to former NavyCommander Adm. Özden Örnek. The diary, the extensive excerpts of which werepublished in Nokta newsweekly's latest issue, revealed that the militaryattempted twice to topple the AK Party government of Prime Minister RecepTayyip Erdoðan, which came to power in 2002.

In its meeting today, the committee will be taking up the allegationsof blacklisting directed at Cabinet members and journalists. Commenting on theallegations, Ünsal said the committee hoped to emphasize how wrong it is forindividuals using the power of the people to engage in acts against thelaw.

He stressed that the nature of a crime and its punishment could onlybe decided within the framework of the judiciary in a state of law. Ünsal saidany classification, categorization or restriction outside the law would betantamount to the prevention of freedom of thought. Pointing out that the mediablacklist prepared under the General Staff constituted a crime, Ünsal said: "Wewill take [the journalist classification] issue up as the assembly of thenation. I hope some things will change from now on."

Commenting on the allegations that the military planned two coupattempts in 2004, Ünsal said, "This is absolutely unacceptable. We will discussthese in the committee. Still, judicial organs should most certainlyinvestigate the validity of these claims and take the required legal action."

Prime Minister Erdoðan on Tuesday had also called on Turkey'sprosecutors to investigate the reports of an alleged failed coup. Before flyingto Syriaon Tuesday, Erdoðan told reporters that prosecutors had started investigatingthe sources used in Nokta. "If they present documentation and evidence, thecase should be followed up on from there."

Nokta ready to submit documents

In a statement made on Wednesday, Nokta Editor in Chief Alper Görmüþ saidthey were ready to submit all the evidence they had if any a prosecutor sodemanded. "The prosecutors should both talk to the alleged owner of the diaryand ask us what proof we have. We will most certainly give what we have,"Görmüþ said.

Legal professionals who talked to Today's Zaman, commenting on Adm. Örnek'sdiary, said the Chief Prosecutor's Office had to launch an investigationwithout any applications being filed. Former Chief Prosecutor of YozgatProvince Reþat Petek said a failed coup that didn't go beyond an "attempt"would still constitute a crime under the law, which made it necessary forprosecutors to act according to the penal code. The former prosecutor said allprosecutors were responsible for investigating Nokta's report, stating that itdid not matter if the subject was civilian or military.

"The law has already granted the authority they need. The expressionsof Özden [Örnek] Pasha have the quality of confessing a crime. There is aprovision in the penal code regulating cases of attempted crimes. Since thereport hit the national press, all chief prosecutor offices in the country areresponsible for investigating the topic."

However, many prosecutors don't have the courage, Petek said,recalling that a former prosecutor in the province of Vanwas dismissed from duty first and then disbarred following an indictment hefiled against Gen. Yaþar Büyükanýt, who was later promoted to chief of generalstaff. "If there will be no investigations into these allegations, theconclusion that everyone will draw is that only the weak are tried in Turkey, whilethose holding power are left untouched. This is a bad situation for society."

Sedat Karagül, a retired judge from Susurluk, also said chiefprosecutors had to act the first day the alleged coup attempt reports appearedin the press. He said since the crime was committed at a time when the generalsaccused of attempting a coup were still in the military, the militaryprosecutor's office was authorized in pursuing the case.

Meanwhile, Yusuf Çaðlayan, a retired military judge, stated that thecoup preparations being detailed in the diary allegedly written by Adm. Örnekconstituted a crime under article 148 of the Military Penal Code. Çaðlayanexpressed his belief that such clandestine meetings or plans to overthrow thegovernment taking place "outside the hierarchy" had dealt a major blow to thereputation of the Turkish Armed Forces.

Çaðlayan also said he didn't expect prosecutors to have the courage tostart legal action into the diary after having witnessed the fate of Van'schief prosecutor, who was sacked and barred from the legal profession afterindicting Gen. Büyükanýt.

Bar associations across the nation also expressed support for Prime MinisterErdoðan's call made to the prosecutors. Kahramanmaraþ Bar Association PresidentÝsmail Kahveci said both military and civil courts were obliged to question theallegations regarding an attempted coup.

"If this is true, it has to be brought to light," Kahveci told Today'sZaman.

Criminal complaint had already been filed

In a related development Tuna Bekleviç, leader of the Strong TurkeyParty, a new political formation with member's ages ranging between 18 and 30,said in a statement his party had already filed a complaint with the publicprosecutor's office of Ýstanbul's Þiþli district on the day the last issue ofNokta magazine was out. "We applied to the prosecutor's office at 10:45 in themorning, the day Nokta came out; however, nothing happened after that. The onlyreply we got was a document saying the criminal complaint we filed wasaccepted."

Meanwhile, the prosecutor's office in Bakýrköy was also reported tohave launched an investigation into the reporter and the editor responsible forthe news story. Sources at the Bakýrköy office said if the news story wasproven to be true, then the investigation would be expanded to include theretired admiral who is the alleged author of the report.

Today's Zaman

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16