Ex-military Chief Faces Lifetime in Prison
An indictment against Başbuğ has been completed and forwarded to a court, seeking aggravated life imprisonment for the former military chief on coup charges.
An indictment against former chief of General Staff retired Gen. İlker Başbuğ has been completed and forwarded to a court, seeking aggravated life imprisonment for the former military chief on coup charges.
Başbuğ was put behind bars by an İstanbul court after he testified last month as a suspect in an investigation into an alleged Internet campaign to discredit Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Turkey has seen some retired generals jailed in coup cases over the past few years, but Gen. Başbuğ, who retired in 2010, is the highest-ranking officer to be caught up so far.
Başbuğ was placed in Silivri Prison where most coup suspects are jailed.
The indictment, submitted to the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court accuses Başbuğ of “establishing or administering a terrorist organization” and “seeking to unseat the government of the Republic of Turkey by force.”
In his defense, Başbuğ denied all charges against him.
“The person who is accused of these charges is the 26th chief of General Staff of the Turkish Republic. I think it is important to note this for history. As the chief of General Staff, I was the commander of the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK]. The TSK is one of the most respected and strongest armed forces in the world. Accusing somebody who led such an army of establishing and administering a terrorist organization is really tragicomic,” he said.
The investigation in which Başbuğ is implicated concerns allegations that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) set up 42 websites to disseminate anti-government propaganda. Dozens of suspects, including Başbuğ, are currently accused of having started an online propaganda campaign against the AK Party aiming to instill fear in the public that the government is trying to instate a religious order based on Islamic law.
The the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court will now decide on whether to accept the indictment or not.
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