Online news outlet Habertürk reported on July 17 that it reached former army chief İlker Başbuğ's testimony regarding a lawsuit that has been launched against him over his remarks on the "political leg" of the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.Former army chief Başbuğ summoned to testify over Gülen's political leg remarks
Habertürk said Başbuğ had reiterated to prosecutors last month that 2009 legal amendments which allowed civilian courts to try military personnel had been devised “with the instructions of” the Gülen movement.
“I think that the addressee of the issue is the then Justice Minister and Justice Ministry bureaucrats when the bill was submitted to parliament,” Başbuğ reportedly told prosecutors in his testimony.
The lawsuit against Başbuğ, the 26th chief of the general staff of Turkey, was launched after he in February accused politicians who drafted the relevant legislation of “being the political leg” of the Gülen movement, which Turkish authorities refer to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). Following Başbuğ's remarks, six deputies from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sued him upon President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s orders.AKP MPs file lawsuit against former army chief Başbuğ
On June 12, Başbuğ submitted his testimony at the Anatolian Justice Palace in Istanbul through the audio and video information system called SEGBİS as the prosecution of the case is run by Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office.
“I have always struggled with plots against the Turkish military. I have also struggled against them when I was in jail. I would like these plots against the Turkish military to be exposed. I believe that this bill was completely drafted by FETÖ's instructions,” Başbuğ reportedly told prosecutors.
Asked by prosecutors if he has any proof that the six complainant deputies “acted together with” the Gülen movement, Başbuğ said, “Absolutely not.” Başbuğ said that he believed the six AKP deputies acted in “line with procedures” and were themselves not responsible from drafting the relevant bill, and instead pointed the finger towards the then Justice Minister and Justice Ministry bureaucrats.AKP signals lawsuit against ex-military chief Başbuğ
“What I am emphasizing is that authorities should question who drafted this legislation, which is against the Constitution, who submitted it to parliament and whom it benefits,” he said.
Sadullah Ergin, from the AKP, was the Justice Minister during the time period that Başbuğ was referring to. Following Başbuğ's remarks in February, Ergin had said that the legislation was put into effect with the will of the government and was intended to align Turkey with the EU practices.
The relevant legislation that passed 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.