In the 15 July overarching trial, former head of the General Staff’s Strategic Transformation Department, Major General Mehmet Dişli, made his defence and alleged that he was not a coupist. Dişli, arguing that he was forced at gunpoint to tell Chief of the General Staff, Full General Hulusi Akar, of the coup attempt, said, ‘And the commander replied, “Are you kidding? We have taken precautions. Calm down”.’ Dişli, saying, ‘I did not make a call to AKP Sakarya MP Şaban Dişli that night. I wish I had and then I would not be here today,’ alleged that Hulusi Akar asked him while going to the Çankaya Mansion, ‘Have you made preparations? What are we going to say when we get there and how are we going to explain what has happened?’
The thirteenth defendant to make his defence at the seventh session of the 221-defendant overarching trial into 15 July was Mehmet Dişli. Dişli stands charged in the indictment with inciting Chief of the General Staff, Hulusi Akar, to attempt a coup and to sign the declaration by saying, ‘Commander, the operation is commencing. We will take everyone. The battalions have set out and you will see them in a while.’ Dişli, saying he arrived at headquarters at 20.45 following a call from Akar’s Chief Advisor, Orhan Yıkılkan, gave the following account: ‘I then went up to the floor where Hulusi Akar was. While wishing to enter the commander’s room, I was taken hostage at gunpoint and taken into a room. They left a blank paper and pen in front of me. They said the Turkish Armed Forces had taken over the administration, a Peace at Home Committee had been formed, the declaration would soon be read, they would immobilise those who resisted, they wanted the commander to be together with them and he knew me and trusted me, otherwise they would do away with both of us. After they had noted these demands on cards, they sent me into the commander’s room.’
Are you kidding?
Dişli, saying the commander told him to sit down on entering the room, claims that he read what had been written on the pages he had been made to write and said, ‘The Armed Forces have taken over the administration, planes are in the air and four or five brigades are on the road.’ Dişli, asserting that Akar, who was listening to him, suddenly lifted his head and responded, ‘What are you saying? Are you kidding?’ continued: ‘The commander did not believe it at first. He said, “We have taken precautions. Calm down. Nothing is happening. We have stopped the flights.” I said, “Commander, what precautions? The planes are flying.” Levent Türkkan came in holding a gun and said things like, “Calm down, commander.” They tried to hold his hands from the back and the commander tried to resist. The commander was flabbergasted and went into shock.’
With the Prime-Ministry’s lawyer Süleyman Ayhan asking, ‘Why did you not call the intelligence agency undersecretary?’ an argument broke out between the two. With Dişli saying, ‘There was the commander and I was carrying out his orders,’ lawyer Ayhan retorted, ‘There was no commander as such.’ Dişli said, ‘I was not having a cup of tea of coffee there. I was trying to halt this wrong with my hands, tongue and heart.’
Dişli argued in his defence that Akın Öztürk was also carrying out the commander’s orders like him and he did not see him cooperate with the coupists. Dişli, saying the military people at Akıncı treated Hulusi Akar with respect, commented as follows while recounting how they got into a helicopter on the morning of 16 July and flew to the Çankaya Mansion: ‘Akar was sitting leaning against the back in a tired state. He then asked, “Have you made preparations? What are we going to say when we get there and how are we going to explain what has happened?” And I said, “Commander, I will explain this”.’ Dişli, saying that they landed at Çankaya Mansion at about 9 o’clock and he served on the crisis desk for seven hours until 4.30 pm, said that he monitored the affair from a military viewpoint.
Asked, ‘Did Akar betray you?’ Dişli said, ‘I conclude that our commander has certain misconceptions in an environment in which the mist and haze over the affair have not yet lifted. I believe that he will rectify this matter very soon. I certainly do not believe that my commander has a question mark about me.’
I was a visitor at Akıncı
Former Commander of the Second Çiğli Main Jet Base, Major General Kubilay Selçuk, alleged in his defence that he had come to the Akıncı Base on 15 July for, ‘Flight training, coordination and feedback activities.’ Selçuk, saying he saw a crowd made up of various forces while walking around the 143rd Fleet, claims this made him suspicious and he came to headquarters to leave the base and requested a vehicle. Selçuk, stating that at this time the door opened and Hulusi Akar and Dişli entered, said, ‘The commander’s arrival and my being there were entirely coincidental. The commander spent half an hour saying in an irritated manner that they were making a mistake. At the commander’s order, I took part in the activities to dissuade them along with Mehmet Dişli.’ Selçuk, asserting that Akar’s comment that he had coordinated the coup attempt at Akıncı was a misapprehension, called on the Chief of the General Staff to be heard as a witness.
There can be no coup in disregard of the people
Dişli, saying he did not know whose idea it was to take Akar to Akıncı, alleged that he himself was a hostage. Dişli, indicating that they were taken to Akıncı by helicopter and were collected from the landing strip in a VIP minibus, said that Rear Admiral Ömer Faruk Harmancık told Akar, ‘Commander, take action along with us. We have tried to do something. We must stop this business.’ Dişli, stating that Akar responded to this by saying, ‘Is such a thing possible in this age? Nothing can happen in disregard of this people. Then they have got up and gone,’ claims that he shuttled back and forth four or five times to the 143rd fleet to dissuade the coupists at the commander’s behest.