The İstanbul Specially Authorized Prosecutor’s Office launched a probe on Monday into former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ in connection with a probe into allegations that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had set up websites to disseminate anti-government propaganda.
On Sunday, the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court made a historic decision when it asked the İstanbul Prosecutor’s Office to include Başbuğ in the anti-government websites probe.
Başbuğ’s name can be seen numerous times in the reports on the interrogations of the suspects in the case. Former 1st Army Commander retired Gen. Hasan Iğsız, Lt. Gen. Mehmet Eröz and Capt. Murat Uslukılıç stated that Başbuğ had given the order for the setting up of the propaganda websites.
According to claims, the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism, a suspected military plot to discredit the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the faith-based Gülen movement, was posted on a number of websites that are believed to have been set up by the General Staff to support TSK propaganda campaigns against civilian groups and the government.
The two cases, the propaganda websites case and the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism case, were merged in August by the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The content of the websites indicates they were used as part of the action plan.
The investigation into the propaganda websites began in 2010 based on evidence found in the home of retired Col. Hasan Ataman Yıldırım, another suspect in the website case. Later, an anonymous tipster from inside the military sent an email to inform the public and prosecutors that the General Staff had established 42 websites for the sole purpose of disseminating propaganda about the government and religious communities.
Başbuğ is also allegedly accused of asking former Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erkan Mumcu not to take part in a presidential vote in Parliament in 2007 so the election would be canceled.