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Civilians shot with ammunition non-existent in Turkish Army inventory during coup bid

Journalist Adem Yavuz Arslan alleged that some of the people killed during the July 15 coup attempt were shot dead by weapons that did not belong to the Turkish Army (TSK). The courts ignored this, although it has been proved, Arslan said in his column citing court documents.

A quite interesting note that Arslan shared argues that an attack on July 18, 2016, three days after the coup attempt, was carried out against the Turkish presidential palace with a MANPADS, and the weapon was given to the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) fifteen years ago from TSK’s inventory. However, the incident was also covered up, Arslan said.

Here is the Arslan’s article where he traced the weapons used in Turkey’s failed coup attempt:

Something is common in almost all the post-coup trials but, it has come to the fore following Nihal Olçok’s comments, saying “pieces of evidence were swept away, the roads were cleaned up. We have something in common with Gulen-followers: Lack of evidence”.

Olçok, who joined the Davutoglu’s (Erdogan’s former ally) Future Party, said she could approve the opening of her son’s graveyard if necessary because there is no answer even to the basics questions in trials.

The courts, hearing the post-coup trials, have been acting in accordance with Dogu Perinçek’s saying, “the judiciary is the dog of politics.” The courts have not been responding to the defendants’ requests and acting partially.

I am going to share essential details in the following parts. However, let me first cite a dialogue from the ongoing post-coup trial of Gendarmerie General Command.

Tarık Kaya, one of the defendants in the trial, asked Mehmet Akif Arslan, who participated in the trial as a complainant, this question: “You said you are a religious official. You were shooting a Kalashnikov with a wooden grip on the night of July 15. Where did you get this gun?”.

In order to call this question as legitimate, there is no need to be a lawyer. The court should have normally sought an answer to this question as well. However, the president of the court dropped the subject, saying, “Let’s pass this question.”

 

No more AKP members in trials

 

When the post-coup trials begun, President Erdogan and AKP members were openly expressing about how and when the courts should decide in the trials. Many was taking to the trials, and the defendants were led to pass through a crowd of AKP members where they were subjected to mental and physical pressures. However, such organizations ended as the trials progressed.

There are two reasons for this. First, Erdogan’s propaganda about the coup attempt served its purpose. People believed it, so there is no need anymore to throw a hanging noose in front of the courts. The second reason, and the most important one, is that the defendants have been making a strong defense.

The uncovered contradictions, suspicious acts, and unanswered questions were so loud and clear that even AKP members could not turn a blind eye. So, they overlooked the trials.

 

The pieces of evidence clumsily gathered

Let’s look into the ongoing trial of the Gendarmerie General Command in the Ankara 23rd Penal Court

 

I’d like first to outline that there is no credible evidence so far, as Olcok said. The courts do not even look into surveillance footage as evidence, let alone finding out which weapon was used to shoot people. Everything, from fingerprints to chemical findings, has messed up. There are even two different autopsy reports for the same person. Some evidence/reports in case files seemed to vanish in subsequent hearings.

For instance, the gun, an MP-5 with a serial number of 11CO1248, which injured the head of National Police Counter Terrorism Unit Turgut Aslan and killed his guard Hasan Gülhan has been lost. There is no more record of the gun in the case file.

The record of a gun that holds significant evidential value had been stroke off, and the court did not even investigate the whereabouts of the weapon despite the defendants’ requests.

Another oddness is; police had collected 377 bullet casings of 5.66 mm caliber. Forensic reports substantiated that the bullets had been fired from 44 different guns. However, there are 26 suspects in the case, and there should be 18 more suspects. But, the court does not investigate who used the other 18 guns. As mentioned above, many people were carrying weapons that night, but the courts do not inquire about it. That’s why it cannot be proved who shot whom.

 

People killed by ammunition non-existent in Turkish Army inventory

 

Let’s carry on.

According to the autopsy reports in the case files, armor-piercing bullets were removed from the bodies of Mustafa Avcu, Yakup Başıbüyük ve Ömer Takdemir. These bullets were also found on the armored personnel carrier used by the putschists.

This is quite an important detail.

Because the Turkish Army does not have 9 mm armor-piercing bullets in its possession, one of the defendants lieutenant Necip Erkul said “Sarsılmaz, Yavuz 16, Kılıç 2000, Zigzaver, Zigana T, Baretta 16, MP-5 and Uzi can fire these bullets. However, military personnel of Nato countries is forbidden to use 9 mm caliber bullets, and these bullets cannot be found in their inventories. Then, where these bullets came from, and who committed these murders?”

Another question is; the report (ANK-BLS-19-09077) which were prepared following the inquiries to find the murderer of Ümit Çoban, Medet Ekizceli ve Rüstem Resul Perçin shows that the bullets were not fired from the defendants’ weapons. Then, who really killed these people? Why has this not been investigated?

This is a very appropriate question, and it is of considerable doubt. But, the court has not yet cleared up the suspicions.

 

The presidential palace

 

One of the most strange incidents took place in the presidential palace. A group of soldiers went to the presidential palace even tough they knew Erdogan wasn’t there, and they were neutralized immediately. An F-16 fighter jet dropped a bomb outside the exterior part of the palace yard several hours after the coup ended. This incident has been using by Erdogan’s regime as the most efficient propaganda material.

Let’s recheck the courts’ records.

Let’s take the bomb disposal document dated May 2, 2018, as an example.

A bag was found in the Botanic Parc of Presidential Guard Command among some military equipment. It was reported that there were 2 kg of explosives, an electric capsule, flare cartridges, and a safety fuze of 20 m in the bag.

Pay attention to the date and hour.

As far as is known, no putschist managed to enter the compound of the presidential palace. Who put these explosives inside the presidential compound?

Let’s move to the bigger question: July 18, 2016, in other words, three days after the coup attempt. Thousands were arrested, soldiers accused of the coup attempt were already captured and being tortured.

An incident of ammunition fired at iron railings of the presidential compound was reported at 11:45 (on July 18, 2016). The ammunition’s impact bent the iron railings. The ammunition could be a part of the RDY rocket’s body (a type of MANPADS), according to a criminal report.

It is still unknown who fired this rocket. Erkul argued, “RDY rocket was handed over by TSK to MİT fifteen years ago.” The way how the presidential palace was bombed was already suspicious; however, if his claim was right, it means that there is a big conspiracy (in the coup attempt). The fire of a rocket by putschists three days after the failed coup attempt while there were guards, police, and civilians present does not sound reasonable.

If the attack was carried out with the ammunition of TSK’s inventory, the court should trace this rocket to solve the mystery of the July 15 coup attempt. However, they did not take the necessary steps so far.

 

If weapons and ammunition do not belong to the Turkish Army?

 

It has been about 3.5 years, and yet, the fundamental questions of the coup attempt have been left unanswered. Just think about that some of the bullets killing the soldiers on the coup night were fired from the weapons not belonging to the Turkish Army. So, who shot these soldiers? Did some people step in that night to kill more people?

Let’s check open sources at this point.

It came out that the gun used to commit a murder in Ankara’s Çubuk district was one of the firearms distributed on the July 15’s night in front of Ankara police headquarter. After this scandal, the governor’s office of Ankara was compelled to admit the unlawful distribution of weapons on that night.

The head of psychological warfare unit in SADAT, organization which come under spotlight upon Turkey’s possible troop deployment into Libya, Nevzat Tarhan said in a televised program “Thousands of former soldier -dismissed from the Army on February 28, 1997, by YAS (supreme military council) – did what on the coup night? They know how to scotch a tank. They know about blunting the periscope of a tank. All of them took to the field that night.”

So, over 1000, former soldiers were in the streets. No one knows how many Jitem members, a secret group in the Turkish Army- was on the field.

According to MIT’s report, an unclear number of MIT officials were also in the streets, and they were armed. MIT reports an effective fight on the part of its personnel but, it is unknown who was targeted by these weapons and who was eliminated.

A Twitter user named Mansur ışık, an AKP supporter as can easily be seen from his Twitter profile, was telling in a stream on Twitter about a sniper shooting at civilians on the night of coup attempt. Another witness claimed to have seen a sniper on the roof of the Harbiye Military Social Facility. Mother of Mahir Ayabak, a young man who died that night, said, “Traitors laid an ambush. There was a black Transport with snipers inside. They opened fire at the crowd, and a bullet hit my son in the back and tore through his heart.”

 

“The bullets that killed police officers are not from our weapons”

 

One of the defendants accused of plotting assassination against Erdogan lieutenant Mehmet Demir points to the same issues: “A group of people went to Marmaris before we arrived and the killings of police officers happened in a gunfight which this group involved. They were not Turkish military officers. I believe they were paramilitary groups. We tried not to engage in the gunfight. 192 cartridges out of 772 in total collected after the incident belonged to us. Each of us had six military clips, but we only used one each. Other groups came before 03.20, and they initiated a gunfight. Police opened fire first. The bullet in the chest of the police officer who died in the gunfight did not come out of our guns. He was not in the range of our gunshot.

We started with Nihal Olçok, and let’s end it with her.

In a TV program hosted by Fatih Altaylı, Olçok said, “A sniper shot my husband and my son dead. If Abdullah (her son) could have remained silent rather than yelling “Baba,” he would not get shot. You know, I said Emir and Şamil (her other sons) that people who killed your dad and brothers. I did not want them to be filled with revenge. I received a news 6.00-7.00 in the morning and learned that they were really shot dead.”

According to the official narrative of the events, Erol Olçok was shot while he headed “for convincing” the soldiers.

However, the autopsy report says that he was shot behind his back with a tilted angle.

Thus he can’t be shot by soldiers in the back while he headed towards them to convince them.

Karar daily reported on this contradiction from the headline, but for some reason, it retracted the news piece, so this question is still unanswered.

As evident, there is a lot to be answered regarding what went down on the night of July 15.

Neither investigations were carried out properly, nor are trials.

Bullets that don’t belong to the Turkish Armed Forces inventory show up in civilian casualties of the coup night, that is established. Some ammunition is not from the defendants’ weapons.

Then who are the killers of these people?

Human Rights

Jailed cadet’s mother stands up against oppression, conquers fear

Melek Çetinkaya is the mother of a jailed 19 years-old former cadet. A campaign led by her broke the spell cast by the Erdogan regime’s reign of terror. She gets detained by police whenever she steps outside her home. However, she has no intention to remain silent.

Lives of millions in Turkey turned upside down on July 15, 2016, with the coup attempt Erdogan labeled as “a gift from God.”

Cadets, many 18-19 years of age, were among those arrested on the night of the coup bid. Çetinkaya’s 19 years old son was one of those students.

Her mom kept telling during post-coup trails that former cadets, including her son, did not involve in any illegal activities on the coup night and highlighted that they were taken to different locations at the behest of their superiors, without touching any weapon. And forensic reports confirmed her claims.

Lawyers of the Presidency were present in the courtroom when 256 former cadets were sentenced to life in prison. Çetinkaya’s son, Furkan, was one of them receiving a sentence of life imprisonment.

Melek Çetinkaya tried hard to have her voice heard on social media. She has taken her struggle a step further by staging protests in favor of jailed cadets in Ankara’s crowded streets.

Her fight also brought other mothers together. Cadets’ mothers got detained whenever they cried out for the plight of cadets sentenced to life in prison.

Çetinkaya has been taking to the streets for three months to draw public attention, and she was taken into police custody for hours in each attempt.

Çetinkaya, trying to reach out to the public through her Youtube channel, has announced her plan to start a “March for Justice” from Ankara to Istanbul.

She said she would hold the March for Justice for cadets sentenced to life in prison, jailed pregnant women, children in prison, and dismissed public servants.

March for Justice, which kicked off on January 19 in Ankara’s Guven Park, met a police intervention which saw the arrest of Çetinkaya along with 66 people.

Police encircled Guven Park and surrounded the protestors. It was a clear message saying that police would not allow a march of 450 km between Ankara and Istanbul.

Çetinkaya was detained right after stepping out of the metro, before making to Guven Park where the march would start.

“I am an aggrieved mom. You gave life sentences to 19 years-old cadets. We have been silent for three and a half years, but you will no longer be able to silence us. Justice will be served in this country,” Çetinkaya said while being dragged away by police.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu was among the protestors when police waded in to disperse the group. Gergerlioglu confirmed the police intervention on his twitter account, saying, “Police violently suppressed Çetinkaya’s march for justice.” He also noted that the police physically assaulted him along with other protestors.

Police held Çetinkaya in detention for hours before releasing her late in the evening. And she was detained each day when she attempted to attend the march. Police went even further by apprehending Çetinkaya right after she left her home on January 21.

Anti-Terror Police took the stage this time. Çetinkaya was taken to Ankara’s Counter-Terrorism department. She had to endure waiting for hours while facing the wall and with her hands cuffed.

Police mocked her height and questioned her about how she learned to use social media. They did not provide her with a bed or mattress, and she had to sleep on the concrete ground.

Some people recorded videos on metros and buses to raise awareness about Çetinkaya’s situation. Those who recorded videos became the target of Erdogan’s fanatics.

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Politics

Erdogan publicly acknowledges giving instructions to judiciary

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the judges who  acquitted a former Turkish general and, for the first time, publicly admitted that he had given instructions to the judiciary.

Turkey has seen the dismissal of more than 30,000 Turkish military personnel from the army and the detention of thousands of former soldiers since the still-controversial failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016. The imprisoned military officers have received jail times ranging between 6 years and a life sentence in prison.

While the discussions about whether Erdogan used the coup attempt to re-design the Turkish army is still going on, Erdogan admitted his instructions to the judiciary to punish Turkish soldiers.

Acquittal of Turkish general angered Erdogan

Lieutenant General Metin İyidil was detained pending trial for three years and sentenced to life in prison over his alleged involvement in the coup attempt. However, the appeal court quashed the lower court’s ruling upon İyidil’s appeal and ruled acquittal and release of İyidil.

Metin İyidil

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s arguments concerning the coup attempt have grown more controversial following the acquittal of a military general.

Any attempt to question the failed coup attempt is viewed as a taboo in Turkey. Prosecutors launch investigations right away into any claim towards the questioning of the trueness of the 15 July coup. The acquittal of İyidil has rekindled discussions on the coup, and the Turkish judiciary whose impartiality is disputed has taken action soon and ordered the re-arrest of İyidil.

Erdogan made some remarks in a press conference about İyidil’s case before flying off to Berlin for a conference on Libya’s civil war.

“It is a very upsetting development for the (Turkish) judiciary, it is not (even) understandable. How could a court take such kind of action? We have given the necessary orders”, Erdogan said in the press conference.

He further noted in his statement, “How could a court acquit or release a man previously sentenced to life in prison? Thanks to efforts of the Ministry of Justice and our prosecutors, he was apprehended soon later in a joint operation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He is now in prison and has started serving his sentence”.

Problem of judicial impartiality in Turkey

Erdogan’s regime purged about 5,000 judges and prosecutors over the past three years, and some 2,500 of them were put behind bars. The two members of the country’s top court (Constitutional Court) remain in prison. Erdogan has acquired the power with the new presidential system to appoint members of Turkey’s high courts, such as the Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation, and Conseil d’Etat.

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No access to basic rights for decree-law victims 

A sizeable number of Turkish citizens do not have access to fundamental rights. Erdogan regime labels them in three letters: “KHK,” which is the Turkish abbreviation for decrees that have the force of law enacted by emergency powers, also known as decree-laws.

The social security numbers of these people are flagged with certain numbers for all employers and institutions to recognize that they are blacklisted by the government.

They are barred from civil service, they are not permitted to have a passport, banks do not give loans them, in some cases they don’t even open accounts, and it is near-impossible for these people to find a job in the private sector.

Thousands of these people, most of whom are college graduates, are in prison.

Many decree-laws were issued after the state of emergency that was declared after the controversial July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. KHK is the abbreviation for Decree-Laws.

With these so-called temporary measures, about 150 thousand public employees were dismissed. The majority of them are Gulen Movement affiliates. Some of them are pro-Kurdish and leftist activists.

The government defends the dismissal of thousands of people, pointing at the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin defends the actions of the Erdogan administration with the following words; “after the merger, 500 thousand public employees in East Germany were dismissed.” However, in Germany, these people were paid compensation and benefited from the welfare state rights.

In Turkey, on the other hand, health insurance and social assistance card that is called “green card” is not given to the people dismissed by decree-laws. One hundred fifty thousand people dismissed by decree-laws were not paid compensation too.

Even withdrawing money from banks is a problem

Teacher Suzan Uzpak’s brother sent money to her from abroad. The bank officer said that she couldn’t pay the amount that was sent by a Vakıfbank transaction. Uzpak was told that it was due to her dismissal by a decree-law. “The system gave a ‘banned’ warning, and similar occasions occurred previously too,” bank officials said.

Another victim of the decree-laws announced on Twitter that Garanti Bank resisted not to open a bank account on his name. Upon public pressure, Garanti Bank had to backtrack. However, the memo sent by the bank read, “We are just opening an account; you do not have the right to use loans, EFT, wire transfer, and internet banking.” The Spanish BBVA owns Garanti Bank. This practice became the subject of a heated debate in Turkey as many questioned the possibility of such demands being made by a bank operating in an EU member country elsewhere in Europe.

Insurance Company did not make the due payment

What H.B. experienced is more striking. His wife had a car accident. Doğa Insurance did not pay the 20,000 Liras damage citing the ownership of the vehicle, for it belonged to a person dismissed by a decree-law.

In Turkey, the banks and insurance companies are monitored by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Board (BDDK), which regulates the financial sector. Board sent an official letter and a blacklist to banks warning them not to make any transaction for the people dismissed by decree-laws.

Social services denied

Teachers make up the majority of people dismissed by decree-laws; almost all of them are university graduates and well-educated people. However, they cannot find jobs due to the decree-law codes that appear on their social security records. Teacher Cemil Özen is one of them. He says they were left to starvation for three years. His application for the Green Card that is obtainable for the poorest group of people in Turkey was rejected because he was one of the people dismissed by a decree-law.

Leaving the country is also forbidden

People dismissed by decree-laws are sentenced to civil death in Turkey, and they are likewise not allowed to go abroad. Seher Kılıç, one of the most qualified people who could find work abroad, tells her experiences as follows: “I haven’t been able to get a passport for three and a half years. I asked why I couldn’t obtain a passport with an application letter. They said there is annotation next to my identity number ‘Banned, Passport cannot be given.’ My credit cards were canceled, I can’t get new ones. I have problems withdrawing the money sent by my family who lives in abroad.”

Mehmet Alkan, who was expelled from the Turkish Armed Forces, is a graduate of the Faculty of Law. However, he cannot work because his lawyer’s certificate has been canceled: Being one of a decree-law dismissed people means you are socially banned. You have no rights at all.”

Ayşe Düzkan, the interim editor of the Özgür Gündem daily which was shut down through a decree-law, tells about the actions of the HSCB, an international bank: “After I got out of prison, HSCB didn’t want to provide service to me. No calls were made to notify me. One day I couldn’t withdraw money from the ATM. I called the bank and found out that they blocked my accounts. I got my money from the office, and my cards were canceled.”

Working for private companies is no option

The reason why thousands of people who were dismissed by decree-laws such as doctors, teachers, police, and engineers cannot find a career in the private sector is the “Banned” annotation that appears next to their social security numbers. Authorities issue separate codes for those who were dismissed from the civil service, those who graduated from schools that were shut down by decree-laws or who are subscribed to newspapers that were shut down similarly.

For instance, some people have the annotation “36” inscribed next to their social security number. When they apply for a job, employers who do not want to draw the ire of the government or tax officers see that annotation and do not employ them.

Thousands of well-educated citizens of Turkey, they can neither go abroad because of travel bans nor find a job in Turkey. Some of these people, who are exposed to civil death, lost their lives while attempting to flee Turkey illegally.

English teacher Uğur Abdurrezzak and his wife Ayşe Abdurezzak, a Turkish-language teacher, were among them. They were both dismissed by a decree-law over their affiliations with the Gulen Movement. The whole family perished along with their children, eleven, and three years old. Their boat capsized as they tried to cross the border with Greece through the Maritza river.

The people dismissed by decree-laws in Turkey established a Youtube channel called KHKTV, as they try to have their voice heard. The decree-law platforms, which they founded in various provinces, are constantly under pressure from the government, and the authorities frequently ban the meetings they want to hold.

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