Former top military commander denies being the leader of the failed 2016 coup and further make shocking revelations in his defense

AKIN OZTURK has denied all coup charges that have been brought against him
by the prosecution, after he was accused of being a key leader of the failed 2016

Ozturk, a former Air Force commander of the Turkish Armed Forces, did the
denial when he presented his closing argument in his defense last Friday.

A Demiroren News Agency report said Ozturk told the court how he was
tortured and wrongly accused by the National Intelligence Service (MIT). He
further said he was not of the coup as he was sitting at home wearing his casual

On 15 July 2016, Turkey saw a coup attempt undertaken by a few thousand
soldiers spearheaded by several warplanes from Turkish Air Forces.

People took the streets following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s
call to citizens via a video call aired on CNN Turk and some soldiers opened at
the rallying crowds throughout the night. Two hundred and fifty people were
killed, 145 of them were civilians, according to government figures.

Rebel soldiers surrendered by the morning of 16 July due to lack of support from the
rest of the military and staunch resistance from the people.

Akin Ozturk tells his story, defying allegations

Ozturk was one of the high ranking military officers detained by the police after
the botched coup and photos displaying his battered face in police custody were
widely circulated in social media and pro-government media outlets seeking

Making startling revelations on the night of the coup attempt, Ozturk claimed
he went to the Akinci base, headquarters of the putsch, at the request of the Air
Force Commander Abidin Unal, to mediate between putschists and the then
General Chief of Staff, Hulusi Akar.

According to the government’s narrative that’s contested by several critical sources,
the High Command of the Turkish Army was detained by the putschists that
evening, who then tried to persuade Akar to lead the coup.
Ozturk claimed that Akar was not restrained, was still in charge when he went to
the Akinci base.

“I asked the Chief of Staff, ‘what is going on?’ Akar replied, ‘they [rebel
soldiers] have done something. Persuade them, they have attempted to undertake
a military coup.’ I first heard the word ‘coup’ from the General Chief Staff,”
Ozturk asserted.

Ozturk said his mediation efforts proved to be futile despite trying several times
to deliver the messages of the high command, “when I think now, he was still in
charge but Hulusi Akar never said once ‘I shall try once to go and talk to them.’”
Accusing several figures from the High Command of the Turkish Armed Forces
in his defense, Ozturk claimed then Deputy Chief of Staff Yasar Guler was in
tears when he retrieved him from the rebel soldiers’ custody.

“He greeted me in tears, ‘Sir, I knew you were going to come and rescue us
when I heard your name,’ he said.”

“They spilled out all their hatred against me”

Ozturk also gave details of the torture he had undergone “I was battered by the
male and female cops in their 20s. They spilled out all their hatred against me.”
The former senior military man went on: “They poured acid to my nails, tied me
with iron handcuffs, the most agonizing of they made some young soldiers
attack me saying to them, ‘this one is the reason what you have been through.’
Until blood welled out of my ear. I am ashamed to say ‘Soldiers had beaten me,’
but let the history note it.”

Claiming he did not even share with his lawyer some of the details from the
coup night, Ozturk lamented: “A general at the age of 65… Has there been a
statesman after Osman the Second [an Ottoman Sultan strangled to death after
undergoing torture in the 17th century] who was exposed to this kind of treatment?”

“I was neither a commander nor a member of the council [the Peace at Home
Council, the organization that signed the coup declaration],” Ozturk contended,
and further claimed he never had links with Gulen Movement, led by US-based
cleric Fethullah Gulen who is accused by Ankara of being the brains behind
the failed coup.

“I was not part of this mindlessly orchestrated coup”

The anonymous witnesses of the case previously claimed they saw Akin Ozturk
at a meeting of the coup plotters in Ankara. Later on, they changed their testimonies and said they mistook Adil Oksuz for him, the civilian who is accused by the Turkish authorities for mediating between Gulen and the rebel soldiers. Ozturk slammed the allegations: “They mistook a bald, fat guy bearing no resemblance to me, for me. The ones who put the words in their mouths had to revise their narrative after I turned out to be in Izmir during the time of the meeting.”

“I have not been part of this mindlessly orchestrated coup bid. Yes, I know some
people were behind this attempt, and some people knew beforehand but did not
act. Yes, there are some, it is your job to find them,” said Ozturk.

The prosecution sought the continuance of the detainment measures for all of the
defendants and the judge ordered the release of one individual, ruling for the
detainment of all others.

If convicted, most of the 486 defendants being tried on charges of violating the
constitution, attempted assassination of the president, trying to abolish the
republic and seizing military headquarters would get life sentences for their
alleged deeds.

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