Turkey’s former army chief detained over 1997 coup

Gen Ismail Hakki Karadayi was detained after his former deputy implicated him

From Today’s Zaman:  Former Chief of General Staff retired Gen. İsmail Hakkı Karadayı was detained on Thursday for questioning over his suspected role in the ousting of a coalition government on Feb. 28, 1997.

News agencies said police detained Karadayı at his home in İstanbul early on Thursday. He was taken initially to a hospital for a medical check-up. The retired general was later taken to Ankara to be questioned by a prosecutor about his role in forcing the resignation of the government in 1997. . . .

The legal action against the former military chief came after a number of former military officers, including retired Gen. Çevik Bir who was the second highest-ranking general in the army at the time of the Feb. 28 coup, filed criminal complaints against Karadayı in December of last year. The officers, all under arrest pending trial, complained that Karadayı was responsible for everything that happened during the coup period. They also said they had received an order for a military coup from Karadayı.

Karadayı, who is 80, served as the chief of the military staff between 1994 and 1998.

In his complaint, Bir argued that his then-superior, Karadayı, knew about the formation of the West Study Group (BÇG), which played a key part in the Feb. 28 events and urged that he be questioned in the probe as well.

Bir claimed that Karadayı authorized all decisions as his superior, including the formation of the BÇG, given the strict hierarchical nature of the military. The BÇG had been established within the military to categorize politicians, intellectuals, soldiers and bureaucrats according to their religious and ideological backgrounds during the Feb. 28 coup era. Bir, the deputy chief of General Staff at the time, was the head of the BÇG.

Bir asserted that Karadayı gave all the orders, and provided voice recordings and statements on the Feb. 28 coup made by his former superior to the court. The complaint emphasized that Karadayı was the general in charge of everything, while Bir was in charge of executing orders at the military headquarters.

Bir argued that he conducted his activities following the National Security Council (MGK) meeting of Feb. 28, 1997 on Karadayı’s orders; events that resulted in the resignation of the elected civilian government led by then-Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan. He stated that all the military personnel who are currently jailed acted in accordance with the orders of their superiors in the BÇG.

From BBC:  A Turkish court sentenced three former army generals to 20 years in jail each in September for plotting another coup. More than 300 officers were convicted of involvement in the plot.

They were accused of plotting to bomb mosques and trying to trigger a war with Greece in order to justify a military coup against the elected government of Mr Erdogan in 2003.  (photo: Haber34)

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