Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has called on the government to reveal the content of a 2015-dated intelligence report which reportedly had at the time urged for the dismissal of former Major Gen. Mehmet Dişli, a general who arranged the abduction of the army chief during the failed coup attempt of July 2016.
The CHP’s demand came after Ahmet Davutoğlu, former Prime Minister and the chairman of the recently established Future Party, said during a TV program that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had urged the government in a 2015 report to remove Dişli from duty, but “a last minute reversal on the decision” kept the Gülenist general on duty.
“As we were due to attend the 2015 YAŞ [Supreme Military Council] meeting, MİT head [Hakan Fidan] presented us a detailed list [of army staff to push into retirement]. We gathered with Hulusi Akar and our President and planned these people’s dismissal in two stages. One of the groups [would be dismissed] initially and then the other group later,” Davutoğlu said during a program on Yeni Akit TV last week.
Hulusi Akar was the commander of the Turkish land forces at the time, but was promoted to preside over the military during a decision taken at the 2015 YAŞ meeting.
Davutoğlu said that although he and Fidan were “very insistent” on Dişli’s forced retirement in line with the MİT report, some “forces” in the state kept Dişli on duty. “The decision [to push Dişli into retirement] has changed on the last night. This decision has not changed because of me, but due to something in the state. I do not want to go into details,” Davutoğlu said.
Davutoğlu was also asked by a journalist on May 27 if there was a MİT report on former Air Force Commander General Akın Öztürk, who along with Dişli was among army personnel that received life sentence in 2019 over the failed coup attempt of July 2016.
“In that person’s reassignment of duty [at the time], reports that came from MİT and other state institutions had an effect,” Davutoğlu said in response to the question.
Upon Davutoğlu’s remarks, CHP Deputy Chair Özgür Özel called on the government to reveal why it prevented the dismissal of Dişli and Öztürk from duty ahead of the July 2016 coup attempt, saying this is in important in terms of enlightening the process leading to the events of coup attempt.
“The public should know what kind of a stance Defense Minister Hulusi Akar – who participated at the YAŞ meeting with the title of land forces commander at the time – adopted regarding the procedures taken concerning army personnel, especially Mehmet Dişli and Akın Öztürk,” Özel said in a written statement on May 28.
Öztürk also called on the authorities to explain why the army allowed Dişli to work so closely with Akar despite the existence of the relevant 2015 MİT report.
Akar was forcibly abducted by pro-coup soldiers at the military headquarters on the night of the failed coup attempt, believed to have been undertaken by the Gülen network, which Ankara refers to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Dişli was the head of the strategy department at army headquarters prior to the coup attempt. He is currently imprisoned for orchestrating the abduction of Akar, who was released hours later when the coup bid came to an end.