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Detained Turkish officers testify to prosecutors

24 February 2010 [20:44] - TODAY.AZ
Prosecutors Wednesday questioned 20 former and active military personnel from a group of nearly 50 who were detained Monday for allegedly plotting a coup.
At least nine of those who testified Wednesday are still on active duty, while at least five have retired, including Adm. Ahmet Feyyaz Öğütçü, commander of the North Sea Fleet.

The military personnel were detained for suspected links to the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) Operation, an alleged coup plan in which the military planned to create turmoil in society by bombing mosques and shooting down Turkish warplanes over the Aegean Sea.

Meanwhile, seven soldiers, including rear admirals Ramazan Cem Gündeniz and Aziz Çakmak who are still on active duty, were arrested after they were brought to court late Tuesday night.

Bülent Kılıç, lawyer for arrested retired Col. Ümit Özcan, said there was no evidence against his client or the others in the file beyond a document whose author was unknown.

“There is a document, but it is uncertain whose computer it came from and who put it in the file,” Kılıç said, adding that the document is a list of names dated from 2002. Because of this, he said the suspects’ lawyers would object to the arrests.

Police, meanwhile, were continuing to detain former Air Force Gen. İbrahim Fırtına and former Navy Cmdr. Özden Örnek at the police department.

Those reacting against the detainment of the generals argued that, according to the law, only chief prosecutors are permitted to question generals, not police. “Because of his situation, [only] a chief prosecutor can question him because he is a former commander. We do not understand why he is still being kept at the Istanbul police department,” said Fırtına’s lawyer, Atilla Hekimoğlu.

/Hurriyet Daily News/

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