Criminal complaint filed against journalist Çandar over 2016 coup attempt remarks

The 15 July Association has filed a criminal complaint against Green Left Party deputy candidate and prominent journalist Cengiz Çandar over his remark that the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey was organized “within the knowledge of the regime.”

Duvar English

The 15 July Association has filed a criminal complaint against Green Left Party deputy candidate and prominent journalist Cengiz Çandar who said that the 2016 coup attempt was organized “within the knowledge of the regime.”

During an interview with Cansu Çamlıbel from online news outlet T24, Çandar said that “First of all, we are not even at the beginning of knowing what happened on July 15 (2016 coup attempt). It is necessary to dig deeper into what it is. It was organized within the knowledge of the regime with the involvement of the Gülenists.”

“There are thousands of people (victimized) by the statutory decrees (KHK). Are all these (Gülenists) supporters of the coup? Were they aware of the coup or would they confirm it if asked? I'm not at all sure,” Çandar added.

The 75-year-old Çandar said “I think Erdoğan knew (the coup attempt) beforehand. (Kemal) Kılıçdaroğlu has already started to say this. Erdoğan was informed and measures were taken. Yes, he took a risk, but they thought they could control it. Hundreds of judges, prosecutors and members of the constitutional court were arrested early in the morning after the coup attempt. When did this state start to work so efficiently? There was obviously a list. They were prepared for it. They left a lot of fingerprints that this was a controlled coup attempt.”

The 15 July Association has filed a criminal complaint against Çandar over his remarks.

The association on April 18 said "Since the night of the coup attempt, we have been against the 'controlled coup' rhetoric. Now, Cengiz Çandar has attempted to acquit FETÖ (Gülenists) by ignoring our 252 martyrs and more than 2,700 veterans. We will not allow anyone to attempt to dilute the July 15, to write a fabricated history."

Çandar has been severely criticized by some opposition figures over his support for the 2010 Turkish constitutional referendum proposed by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

He was nominated as deputy candidate under the Green Left Party (YSP) list for the May 14 General Election. The YSP became the leftist opposition Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) backup party for the upcoming elections as the HDP faces the risk of closure.

A total of 251 people were killed and scores of others were wounded on July 15, 2016, when putschist soldiers commandeered warplanes, helicopters, and tanks and sought to take control of state institutions and overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Following the failed coup attempt of July 2016, which is widely believed to have been undertaken by the Gülen network, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency.

After prolonging the state of emergency seven times, Ankara ended the measure on July 18, 2018. The decision came after President Erdoğan and his AKP won the June 24, 2018 elections.

Under the two-year state of emergency, tens of thousands of people were arrested or dismissed from their jobs on grounds of their alleged involvement in the Gülen network, which Ankara calls the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ). The government argues that it is cleansing the state apparatus of followers of the exiled Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, an ally-turned-foe of the AKP.