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Turkish military chief: I opposed coup bid from start

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ANKARA - Turkish military chief told a parliamentary commission on Tuesday that he stood against the July 15, 2016, coup attempt from the moment it began and also took immediate measures against it.

In his written response to the commission’s questions regarding the defeated coup, chief of Turkish General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar said he had urged the coup plotters to immediately cease their attempt.

About whether he received any report or information about threats from Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) during his time in office, Akar said the Turkish Armed Forces, also known as the TSK, had been fighting against all threats, including FETO, and had been institutionally involved in the state's fight against the terror group.

He also said the military had carried out a thorough probe into all its members before the Supreme Military Council meeting -- an annual event that discusses appointments and retirements of high-ranking staff officers and generals in the army, as well as the removal of military personnel.

About why the TSK did not realize that the FETO had infiltrated the country’s armed forces, Akar said: "It is out of the question that we did not realize the existence of FETO. We, of course, realized it, and even described it as the highest level of risk."

He said the armed forces had taken every possible precaution and made every effort "to remove traitors from within the TSK."

However, he added: "No one, including other institutions of the state, was expecting that this organization, which had slowly and systematically infiltrated all civilian, military and police institutions, could dare to overthrow the elected government and take Turkey and the TSK under its control."

Ankara has accused FETO of orchestrating last July’s coup attempt in Turkey, which martyred 250 people and injured nearly 2,200.

More evidence is mounting against Fetullah Gulen and his followers as high-profile eyewitness accounts and testimony from current and former military officials, and coup plotters emerge.

The military chief also wrote about the intelligence he received from the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) on July 15.

Akar said when his Deputy Chief Yasar Guler relayed the intelligence on the coup bid from the MIT, he immediately called MIT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan and invited him to the headquarters to discuss what emergency actions to take.

He said the War Command Control Operations Center had been told about the order to ground all military aircraft over Turkish airspace. Helicopters and jets in the air were ordered to return to bases while it was made clear to concerned commanders that none should be allowed to leave, he added.

Akar also said the Armed Forces Operation Center -- under the command of Deputy Chief of General Staff Guler -- had been ordered to ground all aircraft and cancel all flights.

The military chief was captured and held prisoner on the night of the coup attempt; he is listed among “soldiers who were victims” on July 15.

The general also called for the severest penalty for all coup plotters, saying they had "put a black mark on the honor of the Turkish army".

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Muslim Global: Turkish military chief: I opposed coup bid from start
Turkish military chief: I opposed coup bid from start
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