Four soldiers testify to civilian prosecutor over assassination plot

Four members of the military were detained on Thursday for plotting to assassinate »»
Four members of the military were detained on Thursday for plotting to assassinate admirals at the Naval Forces Command. Lieutenants Ali Seyhur Dişli, Burak Anaç and Fatih Göktaş and noncommissioned officer Burak Özkan were taken to the İstanbul Beşiktaş Courthouse early in the morning.

They were questioned there by prosecutor Süleyman Pehlivan about the alleged plot. Three of the soldiers were released after their interrogation, while one of them was transferred to an İstanbul court for arrest.

In July seven naval lieutenants were arrested on charges of plotting to assassinate two admirals, Metin Ataç and Eşref Uğur Yiğit.

Three of them, lieutenants Sinan Efe Noyan, Faruk Akın and Alperen Erdoğan, were on active duty in the Gölcük district of northwestern Kocaeli province and were arrested on July 21 by court order after being detained. There were claims that the lieutenants were in close contact with Maj. Levent Bektaş, who was arrested in April for suspected links to a large cache of ammunition unearthed during excavations on land owned by the İstek Foundation in İstanbul’s Poyrazköy district. That discovery came as part of the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine organization whose suspected members are currently standing trial on charges of having plotted to overthrow the government.

In the meantime, news portals announced yesterday that one major and another soldier whose rank was not made public were released from prison before Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice). Several members of the military were arrested last month on grounds that they had contributed to the preparation of a plot which detailed a plan to assassinate prominent non-Muslim figures in Turkey and place the blame for the killings on the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) as part of an action plan called the Cage Operation Action Plan. The killings were intended to increase internal and external pressure on the party, leading to diminishing public support for the AK Party.

The lawyers for two colonels and a major also yesterday appealed the arrest of their clients, who were put in prison on Nov. 27 over similar charges.

TSK expels jailed colonel

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have expelled a major who is currently serving time in jail for charges of aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.

Col. Aydın Yeşil was arrested in 2006 after a voice recording allegedly featuring his voice was leaked to the press. The recording revealed the close ties between the colonel and Cabbar Çiçek, a member of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The colonel’s dismissal came before the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) convenes today to decide on promotions and dismissals in the armed forces. According to observers, the TSK decision to expel the colonel may set a precedent in the dismissal of other members of the military who were put behind bars as part of an ongoing probe into Ergenekon.