BÜLENT KORUCU

Betrayers who revealed illegality

There is nothing new in the voice recording allegedly belonging to former Chief of »»

There is nothing new in the voice recording allegedly belonging to former Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner. What's new is that the highest ranking military commander confessed the things that everyone, even the most disinterested, already knew.

Pricking up one's ears, one can hear many people who have experienced similar events described in the recordings. For example, someone said, "Our troops suffered casualties because of the mines that they had planted." Another said: "The military outpost was located in a valley. The terrorists didn't need to use weapons. Had they attacked by throwing stones, we would have suffered just as many casualties." "Insufficient training, lack of discipline in the hierarchy and lack of concentration due to dealing with other business" were the self-critical confessions of what is already known to all.

In a sense, it is good to see that Koşaner preferred to share realistic facts with his colleagues instead of voicing heroism. We understand that he did not bury his head in the sand. However, some of his remarks and his rank destroy the positive atmosphere. What I am trying to get at is that Koşaner is not a person who is a foreigner to this country, and he is not a Kemal Derviş, who, like a deus ex machina, was imported to this country. Before Koşaner was promoted to chief of General Staff, he had commanded the Land Forces. Before that, he had served as the Gendarmerie General Commander. In other words, Koşaner administered and commanded two important branches dealing with counterterrorism. So, we can ask him "Why didn't you make these assessments in those days?” and "Why didn't you take precautionary measures?"

I wonder if those who were trumpeting the promotion of generals Halil Helvacıoğlu and Gürbüz Kaya and subsequently resigned, challenging the government in the process, have taken any steps in seeking justice for the family of the soldier killed by friendly fire. Isn't it a contradiction that while the military complains about its failure to fully utilize the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) it insists on ensuring the promotion of the commander who mistook the terrorists detected by those UAVs for mere shepherds?

He boasts about their struggle to keep the Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Center (OYAK) tax-free, but can he say that he has done his best to ensure that military outposts are improved?

The voice recordings also reveal interesting points with regard to contemporary issues other than counterterrorism. "We acted outside the law and regulations. We thought we could go ahead like that. But we were betrayed by one of our own. We could not unmask them, unfortunately. Yes, we did act outside the law. We had to do so during some periods. We made it our habit and thought it would go on like that. We continued to do so and used some resources we were not authorized to have. We still have them. The unjustly thereof, too, will come back to haunt us. But some corrupt colleagues seemed to have been among our ranks. Perhaps, they are but a few. But in the final analysis, we generously played into their hands." These words do not need any commentary. The confession about the military's breaking the law with the belief that they could do so forever is as stunning as his revelations about counterterrorism.

Furthermore, he refers to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) members who paved the way for the disclosure of those illegal acts committed by the TSK as double-crossers and this is a basic contradiction in the recording. Apparently, the “respect for the rule of law” is not a voluntary choice, but a necessity. They would like to preserve the old system, if that is possible. If they were not concerned with being under surveillance, they would not care much about the rule of law. The same mood is also visible in his statements about the case against the Sledgehammer (Balyoz) coup action plan. Again, they are after those who leaked it and regret having been unable to stop them from leaking. By the way, this is bad news for the advocates of those who are standing trial in the case against Sledgehammer: The long assessments in the voice recording do not include a single word that will come as a relief for them. On the contrary, there is mention of the destruction of evidence. They complain about "receiving such plans from the military" or "playing into the hands of traitors." I think “traitors” here refers to the judiciary. The most interesting bit about the recordings is the references to the civilian control mechanisms introduced by Sept. 12. They are particularly irritated by the introduction of an ombudsman. Let this word ring in the ears of sincere “naysayers.”

2011-08-26

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Columnist:: BÜLENT KORUCU