This week, Turkish state news agency Anadolu published the confession of Lt. Col. Levent Turkkan, aide-de-camp of Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar. Turkkan’s confession is considered to be the highest-level ‘evidence’ that Gulenists are behind the coup.
We have to emphasize that Turkkan’s remarks were shared with this photo that shows bruises and injuries in his face, stomach, shoulder and hands. It is possible that he was forced to make these remarks under torture. If these bruises and injures happened while police tried to take him under custody and that they are not from the torture, it seems that he should have been unable to write such a long testimony by his injured hands. His testimony, however, says that he asked for a pen and a paper and wrote the testimony while he was waiting in the police station.
The crux of Turkkan’s statement is centered on a fact that he is a Gulenist and that he was in contact with Gulenists during the planning and the execution of the coup attempt. According to Turkkan, he knew about the coup plot a day before, on July 14.
Turkkan made it clear that he was part of the Gulen movement for more than 30 years now and that he hid his identity for at least 27 years. According to Turkkan, he made many illegal acts during his service to the Gulen movement, but did not view it problematic until he was captured. It was not clear why.
Take a look at this excerpt:
¨I had never believed that Fetullah Gulen community was a traitor until today. I thought they had always been working to please God. But I understood who they are during the coup attempt and afterwards. It is even not enough to describe this structure and members of this structure as traitors. Now I know that members of this structure are people with criminal souls. I have never seen Fetullah Gulen, but I also say these things about him too.’’
Throughout his testimony, Turkkan talks about how devout he was to the movement, how he carried out many, many illegal works for them. It is quite clear that he understood that his actions, from stealing admission exams in 1989 to wiretapping his superiors, were in grave violation of army’s as well as country’s rules. Yet he committed these crimes without any remorse. He never felt that he needed to object to these actions. He never felt that he needed to quit working for the movement because of these illegal actions. Instead, he made it very clear that he carried out illegal works for Gulenists for decades without questioning it. He even said in his testimony that he thought the Gulen movement was doing things to please God.
Now it is time to ask how come he realized in just matter of hours that Gulen and his followers are traitors and what he had done for decades without questioning were treason to the homeland.
Turkkan says that he learned about the true nature of Gulenists because of the coup. But it is not clear why he helped the coup move forward, and waited for at least one day during the preparation and the execution of the coup attempt.
Turkkan says that he was skilled enough to pass the military admission exam. He claims that Gulenists were very well positioned within the military that they could steal exam questions, a very unlikely scenario for that time. He claims that he memorized the questions and passed the exam. He says he could not make to the top of the list because he was not given all the questions. This contradicts his claim that he was very skilled and knowledgeable. Even with most questions provided, he was unable to show a good performance.
Overall, it is not clear why a Lt. Col., caught red-handed during a coup attempt, would ever confess to crimes that would probably never see the light such as tapping the office of former army chief Necdet Özel for years. He could have said that he was fooled into believing that Hulusi Akar would agree to the coup attempt and that he acted within the chain-and-command and that he was left desperate when Akar was taken away.
It is clear from his statement that he gave the testimony few hours after he was taken into custody, without any knowledge that anyone sold him out. It was not clear why he would have confessed that he is a Gulenist, knowing that there is no way the authorities could have compassion for a Gulenist putschist.
He could have gotten away with few years in prison if he did not confess for crimes that he allegedly made in the past years, such as the wiretapping. It is not clear why anyone would have done that.
¨My personal opinion is that 60-70 percent of military officers who joined the army from military schools since 1990s were Gulenists.¨
Considering that most of the army consist of officers who joined it in 1990s, Turkkan claims that 60-70 percent of the army are Gulenists. Along the fact that this is very unlikely, he says he has no idea how the Gulenists worked in another part of the testimony. How is it then possible that he knows the percentage of Gulenists admitted into the army in a given decade.
On July 23, Hurriyet newspaper published a long story of how Gulenists infiltrated into the military. In a passage where the author talks about Levent Turkkan, it is striking how his description of Turkkan is very similar to the lt. col.’s testimony. The author does not use direct quotes that would indicate that he used the information from his testimony. Instead his article details his life story in a way that it is his investigation.
The author does not even get Turkkan’s name right (he wrote Lutfu) and even put Lutfu Turkkan’s photo, who is a lawmaker, not an army officer.
Does this indicate that the confession of Turkkan is a document handed to him by the authorities? The same document that was given to Hurriyet? It is up to you to decide, but it raises many questions.