The Justice and Development Party's (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik has said that the party deputies will file a lawsuit against İlker Başbuğ, the 26th chief of the general staff of Turkey, over his comments accusing the politicians who paved the way for civilian courts to try military personnel in 2009 of being the “political leg” of the Gülen network, which the government refers to as the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
“The struggle against FETÖ for it to be erased from all the state organs continues. This struggle cannot be supported by those who accuse others through some claims, without having any proof of that. Our friends will use their legal right in the face of such an approach which labels them as FETÖ members,” Çelik said on Feb. 4 following a Central Executive Board Meeting (MYK) of the party.
Çelik's comments came after Başbuğ said during a TV program on Jan. 28 that the legislation in 2009 that allowed civilian courts to try military personnel for certain crimes – which passed under the AKP rule – was a smear campaign against the armed forces at the time.
“If we say that there is no 'political leg' of FETÖ, we we would be denying the truth…On April 14, 2009, I had said 'I will fight against FETÖ.' An investigation should be undertaken regarding who prepared this legislative proposal; this is completely FETÖ,” Başbuğ said.
The relevant legislation that passed the Turkish parliament on June 25, 2009 empowered civilian courts to try members of the armed forces who are accused of certain crimes such as threats to national security, constitutional violations, organizing armed groups and attempts to topple the government.