Prosecutor demands to hear ex-military chief in coup plot probe

May 31, 2012, Thursday/ 01:51:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Specially Authorized İstanbul Public Prosecutor Mehmet Ali Pekgüzel has requested that an İstanbul court hear the testimony of former Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Özkök.

The request followed an earlier demand from Workers’ Party (İP) leader Doğu Perinçek as part of the Ergenekon investigation.

Perinçek had asked the court to hear Özkök as a witness about a claim that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had sent a scheme of the Ergenekon terrorist organization to the General Staff in 2003. Özkök testified as a witness in the Ergenekon investigation earlier in 2009. In his testimony, Özkök said he was aware that some of his generals were preparing to carry out illegal and antidemocratic activities, although he had never been asked to be part of such plans as he would never have permitted or created an opportunity for such a proposition. Özkök, who retired in 2006 and settled in the western province of İzmir, is frequently in the national news due to the coup plans allegedly drawn up during his term as military chief. In earlier statements, Özkök has neither confirmed nor denied the presence of plans within the military to overthrow the AK Party government.

In addition, the spokesperson of a parliamentary commission set up to investigate coups, İdris Şahin, has announced the commission’s decision to talk to former President Süleyman Demirel, the wife of the late Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, Rahşan Ecevit, former Parliament Speaker Hüsamettin Cindoruk and former İstanbul Mayor Ahmet İsvan about the Feb. 28, 1997 coup.

Şahin said Demirel, Ecevit, Cindoruk and İsvan would not be invited to Parliament to tell the commission about the coup, but members of the commission would visit them in their homes to listen to them as witnesses. On Feb. 27, the Turkish military forced a coalition government led by a now-defunct conservative party to resign on the grounds that the party was encouraging religious fundamentalism in the country.

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