Turkey

Turkish Air Forces commander details failed coup bid

Testimony from Abidin Unal states he could not reach retired air force commander Akin Ozturk on July 15 night

27.07.2016
Turkish Air Forces commander details failed coup bid Turkish Air Forces commander Abidin Unal

Ankara

ANKARA 

The commander of the Turkish Air Force has said in testimony to the Public Prosecutor of Ankara that he could not reach suspected retired air force commander Akin Ozturk on the night of Turkey’s coup attempt.

In testimony seen by an Anadolu Agency correspondent, Abidin Unal said he called Ozturk upon first receiving information about a coup attempt.

Unal asked Ozturk about fighter jets in Ankara, saying: "What happened there? Is there a coup on your order?"

Unal received information from Ozturk that the fighter jets just made a night flight, however, Ozturk added he would investigate the situation.

"I said to him that this was not a night flight; there are low altitude flights in Ankara," Unal said.

"After that Akin Ozturk did not return to me in any sense," Unal said, adding: "If he tried to return to me, I do not know because I did not have my cell phone."

Abidin Unal was detained by Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) members at a wedding ceremony in Istanbul around 10.00 p.m. on July 15 and was brought to Akinci air force base, northwest of Ankara.

Unal said he was welcomed by Operations Commander Staff Colonel Ahmet Ozcetin at the base. "He said to me: 'Welcome sir.' I said to him: 'I am not happy to be here.' He said to me: 'We are trying to fix the broken tunes.' I said to him: 'Your tunes are broken.'"

Unal said that coup members brought him to a room: "They wanted my cell phone. They stationed two gunmen in front of the door."

He stayed in the room until 5.30 a.m. on July 16: "They just brought breakfast in the morning. They did not cuff my hands and feet. They did not close my eyes."

Unal said that Akin Ozturk came to the room at around noon and conveyed to him that he had tried to stop the coup plotters.

"I do not know why the pro-coup soldiers did not intervene in Akin Ozturk or brought him in over Akin Ozturk's discourses," Unal said.

Akin Ozturk, in his three-page testimony, has rejected accusations of taking part in the failed coup.

Ozturk told an Ankara prosecutor he did not plan or direct the coup attempt, adding that he did not know who planned it.

Turkey went through a deadly coup attempt on July 15, when rogue elements of the military tried to overthrow the country's democratically-elected government.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the failed coup, which martyred at least 246 and wounded more than 2,100 people.

The country accuses U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen and his FETO of being behind the attempted coup and has called for his extradition to Turkey to face trial.

(Reporting by Baris Kilic, Serdar Acil, Ferdi Turkten, Aylin Sirikli and Durmus Kocak; Writing by Emin Avundukluoglu)

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