Feb. 28 coup general appears to curse president in recording

Gen. Tevfik Özkılıç seen at a national holiday ceremony. (Photo: Cihan)

May 31, 2012, Thursday/ 15:15:00

A voice recording that was anonymously posted online on Thursday allegedly features the voice of a general who was recently arrested in the ongoing investigation into the Feb. 28, 1997 military intervention using vulgar language when speaking about Present Abdullah Gül.

The voice of Gen. Tevfik Özkılıç is believed to be in the recording, the link to which was shared in a tweet by Ses TV, a news account that uses Twitter to share stories. The general was arrested last month for his suspected role in the 1997 unarmed military intervention that resulted in the resignation of the government in power at the time.

The voice in the recording says: “That son of a whore became the president and the country is now out of hand. Now that son of whore is sitting at Çankaya [presidential palace]. There is a statewide problem about him.” The same expression is repeated several more times throughout the recording. The voice, however, also tells its listeners not to be let down. “Don't let this demoralize you,” the voice says. “We will follow this threat, structure and danger and monitor it.”

The general continues: “At the end of the day, there is a serious difference between us, the military, seeing the threat, formation and danger and civilians seeing it. But there have been differences of interpretation between the Land Forces Command and the General Staff.”

The voice says: “We will work on this later. You will not use computers. Ever. You will not see any other contact besides those people you see here until further notice. We were ready [for an intervention]. We were ready, emotionally as well. But there were differences in interpretation regarding the threat assessment.”

The person in the audio recording believed to be Gen. Özkılıç also praises the founding fathers of the republic, Atatürk and İsmet İnönü, saying: “Courage is also important, friends. These are big decisions, friends. Big decisions; big steps. Big men make big decisions. İsmet İnönü and Atatürk were big men. They made big decisions, and they carried them out with no remorse. We are, in reality, extremely determined about this. We believe that we will protect our country, our nation, in the best way -- that we love it. We also believe that something must be done. However, we have hesitations about where and how it will be done. This is the thing. We will clarify this.”

Further into the recording, the voice lectures the listeners more on being careful about working on computers when compiling lists, including information about people. “Be extremely careful. Buy a computer that has never been used before and work on that. Don’t ever connect to the Internet.”

Speaking about intelligence documents and blacklists compiled BY the coup plotters to keep tabs on people, the voice says: “They should absolutely not be duplicated. They will absolutely not be copied onto an electronic device. Nobody but the people here will bring them in person. If there are any leaks, I will be very upset. Very upset.”

He adds: “Those who have been in the mountains [fighting terrorists in the Southeast] know. Sometimes, for the noble interests of the state, illegal methods can be employed. I have personally done such things. We will take all we do to the grave with us and we won’t regret any of it. Is everyone with me?” Two other voice recordings were released earlier this week. In one, Rear Adm. Cem Aziz Çakmak, who is currently among dozens of military officers jailed for suspected involvement in a coup plot dubbed “Sledgehammer,” says that “there will be revenge taken for the Sledgehammer” probe within two years and that it will hurt many, including children.

In an earlier recording released a few days prior to that of Çakmak, another Sledgehammer suspect threatened the government with a civil war to begin as soon as the suspects imprisoned on charges of planning a coup d’état are released from prison.

In the recording, a person alleged to be Rear Adm. Fatih Ilgar harshly criticizes the prime minister and senior military officers and says that the suspects who have been jailed on charges of plotting to overthrow the government will be released from prison in about two months thanks to a bill that will be voted on in Parliament soon.