Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Kayseri deputy Yaşar Karayel, who is also the head of the sub-commission, told the Bugün daily on Sunday that the commission had access to thousand of pages of documents dating back to the pro-coup period. “Around 40 experts are currently examining the documents,” he said, adding that the aim of the examination is to find out if the documents are genuine or not. According to Karayel, the documents include plans to arrest journalists after the coup as well as a list of nongovernmental organizations which were to be shut down. Karayel, however, did not cite any names of the journalists or nongovernmental organizations who would have been affected.
No journalists were arrested after Feb. 28. It is unknown why the stagers of the coup changed their decision to arrest journalists.
Karayel declined to make further comments about the details or content of the documents, saying: “These are very important documents. Our colleagues are examining them. It would not be right to share them with the press before their authenticity is proven,” he said. Karayel also added that the list of journalists who would have been arrested is similar to a list of journalists to be arrested after a coup plan -- dubbed Balyoz (Sledgehammer) -- which was exposed by the Turkish media in 2010. The Sledgehammer coup plan was drafted during a military seminar in 2003.
According to the plan, coup plotters hoped to have 36 journalists arrested and to “make use of” 137 others in fomenting public support for the coup. Among the journalists to be arrested were Abdurrahman Dilipak from the Yeni Akit daily, Mehmet Altan from the Star daily, Etyen Mahçupyan from the Zaman daily and Nazlı Ilıcak from the Sabah daily.
Karayel also said the parliamentary sub-commission made contact with the Religious Affairs Directorate to find out about Quran courses which were shut down after the Feb. 28 coup. “We want to learn how many courses were shut down back in that year. And how many instructors at the courses were fired from their jobs. We have asked the Religious Affairs Directorate about the courses,” he said.
The deputy also added that the sub-commission will order an examination into the back accounts of some officials to learn whether they were engaged in embezzlement during the coup period. He also said the commission will ask the Ministry of Justice to allow members of the commission to listen to the testimonies of some suspected figures of the Feb. 28 coup who are currently in prison on various charges, such as former police chief Mehmet Ağar and retired Gen. Çevik Bir. “We will also listen to some media bosses and chairmen of some nongovernmental organizations about their recollections of the Feb. 28 coup,” he said.