15 JULY COUP CASE: “We have no evidence, have to cook up the case”

Brigadier Erdoğan Gür (on the left) and Colonel Şaban Delioğlu

Province Malatya is not one of the main places of July 15th military coup attempt in Turkey. In the course of the coup attempt, Malatya has no importance as Ankara, Istanbul, Eskisehir, Mugla and Diyarbakir. Except for the small-scale clashes in the 2nd Army Command and the mobility in the 7th Main Jet Base, nothing remarkable happened. This is clearly stated in the administrative investigation report of the Malatya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which is requested from the 7th Main Jet Base Command.

In the administrative investigation report dated 11 November 2016, signed by the Commander of the Colonel Hasan Hüseyin Kanbur and sent to the Malatya 1st High Criminal Court. It was stated that no pro-coup order was given to the officers at that night and no resistance was shown to the civil authorities. Furthermore, Provincial Security Director Ömer Urhal also stated at the hearing on 6 November 2017 that there were no incidents in Malatya that night. However, what happened in Malatya case gives an idea about the whole of July 15th.

In the case file seen by Malatya 1st High Criminal Court -where former 2nd Army Commander Adem Huduti  was sentenced 15 years, 3 generals life, 4 colonel, 2 colonel, 4 majors and 1 captain were sentenced aggravated life imprisonment , and 1 colonel and first lieutenant to  life imprisonment also- there are very striking revelations. Arresting some commenders who have been targeted without any crime, associating them with the coup by producing “evidence” are some of them. The efforts to produce these false evidence, even though they are publicly informed on the case file, give an idea of what July 15 is and what is not.

One of the defendants of this case, which the Court of Appeal also upheld, was the 7th Main Jet Base Commander Emin Ayık of the time, and the other was the Commander-in-Chief of the Operation Pilot Colonel Tayfun Tuna. According to the indictment, no concrete crimes were identified. This situation is also known by the prosecutor. Therefore, the Prosecutor, along with some MİT officials, “visited” the base and held “special” meetings with some officers. They have instructed to ‘produce’ evidence against Tayfun Tuna and some pilots at the meeting. We can see this from the statements of the soldiers who attended the meeting and were requested to produce evidence by them.

According to these statements, the person who gave the illegal order was appointed to the place of the 7th Main Jet Base Commander Brigadier General Emin Ayık who was arrested on 16 July: Tuğgeneral Erdoğan Gür. As soon as he took office, Gür conducted meetings with the public prosecutor and the staff of the National Intelligence Service (MİT) and ordered several of the most senior officers at the base to “cook the files of the pilots who had been arrested up”. One of these officers was Major Murat Örsal, the 7th Main Jet Base Aircraft Maintenance Officer. Another is the 7th Main Jet Base Support Group Commander Colonel Mahmut Sağır. And another is the 7th Main Jet Base Command Security Battalion Commander Captain Murat Mutlu. According to the allegations, Erdoğan Gür says in these meetings “Files of Emin Ayik, Tayfun Tuna and 10 pilots arrested are empty so we have to cook their files up, otherwise they cannot blame these men.” 

Although these 3 military officers testified as requested, they were arrested on charges of coup. But they were released after the disclosures how they were asked to testify by commanders and the prosecutor. They reinstated and promoted in a short period. One of the owners of these disclousers is Murat Örsal.

Murat Örsal’s petition with his handwriting.

On the night of 15th July, he was acting as an alternate for this position too, since Aircraft Maintenance Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Cahit Kıyak was on leave. Örsal, who was arrested 2 weeks after the coup attempt, wrote in his handwriting on September 2, 2016, the following where indicated on the 13th page of Mörsal2the statement: “When Colonel Şaban (Şaban Delioğlu, who was the Commander of the 7th Main Jet Base Command Aircraft Systems at that time. Then he became the Commander of the Anamur Garrison.) called me after 23:00 from my home on July 26th, he said ‘We will embroider the pilots’ files. The base commander and the prosecutor have met. Let’s go to testify as witnesses.” And I said, “All right, we can go after making a team.’ He insisted on saying on that day and then on the 27th and the 28th of July that our statements should be given short and concise, that the Prosecutor was aware of the matter, that he has said the aircraft maintenance workers were out of this event, and so there was nothing to refrain.” 

One another statement belongs Colonel Mahmut Sağır, Commander of the 7th Main Jet Base Support Group of that time. On 3 August 2016, he used the following statements in his presecutorial statement: “5-6 days after this coup attempt, I told my new commander, Colonel Erdoğan Gür, that I would like to give a statement about the subject. He told us to wait. He said they’re gonna set this up. We have prepared a list of names for 32-33 persons and given this list to our base commander.”

Mahmut Sağır, in his defense at the court on 6 April 2017, said : “I was at the meeting of  MIT Regional President who was visiting our unit with our new base commander on July 27.”

The visit of MIT Regional President in the statement of Mahmut Sağır

He describes the main details at the Malatya Criminal Court of Peace petition dated 19 August 2016: ” On the night of 27 July Wednesday, former base commander, Erdoğan Gür, gathered the unit commanders in his room. He used the following statements: ‘Former base commander, officer and pilots were arrested, but the files are not very full. Our aim is to bloat their files if they are putschist/attempter’ (…) If we were coup attempters, would we meet with Brigadier-General Erdoğan Gür after 1-2 days and prepare a list of those who might be appropriate to testify in order to bloat the files of the perpetrators?”

Mahmut Sağır released 3 days after this statement. 

According to the allegations, Colonel Şaban Delioğlu, who made the referrals with the instructions of Erdoğan Gür, has inculcated same suggestions for others. By interviewing with base staff one by one he said “They are going to call everybody for statement. I went and testified. I explained the events clearly. There is nothing wrong. Tell them what happened that night. Testify briefly and testify that these guys have been pro-coup.”

Acting in line with the motives of Erdoğan Gür and Şaban Delioğlu; Mahmut Sağır and Murat Orsal gave a statement that the former base commander Emin Ayik, Operation Commander Tayfun Tuna and F4 pilots were members of the Gulen Movement. They said that these names acted like a pro-coup. However, according to the documents, the camera images and the administrative investigation report, none of these names had acted as a pro-coup on that night. I’m going to put all the facts together with the documents on the table later in this series of articles.

Mahmut Sağır, Murat Örsal and Murat Mutlu who gave the statements in question were later released and returned to their posts. As a result of the trial, they were acquitted. After being released Murat Orsal was reinstated on 26 September 2016.. Yet he was entrusted with the 2015-2016 Operations Achievement Award. He was promoted to the rank of Airplane Maintenance Battalion on 30 November 2016. Hulusi Akar Chief of General Staff of the period, gave his moment object to Murat Orsal on the base visit 28 December 2016.

Mahmut Sağır was released on 22 August 2016 and reinstated. Later, he became a safety auditor in Air Force Assessment and Inspection Department. The person responsible for the safety measures, security battalions and security plans of all air force units. 

The Commander of the time, Brigadier General Erdoğan Gür, who gave them this instruction, is currently the Commander of the Air Force Schools. Colonel Şaban Delioğlu, who directed his subordinates in accordance with Gür’’s orders, was promoted to Anamur Garrison Command after 15 July.

Emin Ayık and Tayfun Tuna, whose hoax case files were polished, were sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment.

APPENDIX : The petition written by Tayfun Tuna with the handwriting of the alleged ’cooking up’ claims


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