A rear admiral who resigned after being demoted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that he was set up in a conspiracy reminiscent of those previously used by the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Chief of Staff of the Turkish Navy Rear Admiral Cihat Yaycı, who is known with his anti-Gülen stance, announced his resignation on May 18, two days after he was assigned to the Turkish General Staff.
In his resignation letter, Yaycı said that his honor was hurt as a result of the hasty demotion that took place over “baseless” reasons reminiscent of Gülen-like conspiracies.
“It’s clear that I can’t continue my duty as a rear admiral who was dismissed as a result of lies and slander via a plot,” Yaycı said in the letter.
The rear admiral is the figure who coined the term “The Blue Homeland Theory,” which envisages Ankara’s sovereignty stretching across half the East Mediterranean.
Erdoğan’s decision to demote Yaycı came as a surprise, since he was strictly against the Gülenists in the army.
Yaycı was alongside Erdoğan during the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, widely believed to have orchestrated by Gülenists, whose official name is the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
The rear admiral introduced a practice dubbed “FETÖMETER” in the Naval Forces to determine Gülen sympathizers.
In his resignation letter, Yaycı said that he could fulfill all types of duties, but the situation is different this time.
“I’m being tried to be put in a position of an admiral whose honor is hurt. It’s impossible for me to accept that. My character and Turkishness pride won’t allow it,” he said.
Saying that he learned about his demotion at 3 a.m. on May 16 and that Naval Forces Commander Admiral Adnan Özbal didn’t know about it, Yaycı noted that he, his family and his fellow soldiers are hurt by not being able to respond to accusations.
“I carried out my struggle against FETÖ members until today and understand that I’m successful at it when I see these traitors rejoicing,” he said.
Pro-government columnist Nedim Şener previously said that Yaycı is the target of Gülenists in the army, adding that his demotion was secured with false claims of tender rigging.
Regarding the allegations of tender rigging, Yaycı reportedly said, “Everything is out in the open. We’ll wait and see the results of the investigation.”