Gendarmerie General Commander Gen. Yaşar Güler has said the plotters of the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt “turned into robots” after receiving the order to stage a coup by the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
“Think about the time necessary for a general to be raised. But these people turned completely into robots with a sudden order on the night after such a long process,” Güler said at a meeting hosted by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) think tank in Washington.
Güler, who was taken hostage by coup plotters on the night of the coup, said the participation of former Air Force Commander Gen. Akın Öztürk in the failed coup “deeply surprised me.”
“The door of the room where I was held was opened at around noon on July 16 and I heard a familiar voice saying, ‘Yaşar, what are you doing here?’ It was a person who I worked with for many years, a general and a person who I met with my whole family. It was Akın Öztürk who was traveling around freely in an environment where I was handcuffed,” Güler said.
Güler, who at the time of the coup was deputy chief of general staff, was taken hostage before being taken to the Akıncı Air Base, used by the coup plotters as a headquarters, in the capital Ankara.
“Öztürk’s freedom in that environment is interesting. If he had been on our side he would have been in my position but he wasn’t. He ordered the removal of my handcuffs and eyepatch and offered to let me speak with my family on the phone. I didn’t get up, despite this proposal,” he added.
Saying he spoke with his family through a fixed line, Güler added that he was left alone after the conversation.
“I told my family that I was alright and they left me alone. Öztürk didn’t forget to warn me that there was a guard in front of the room,” he said, expressing “massive astonishment and sadness” at that point.
“You realize that the organizational structure that you’re facing is very different. The person who was across fom me was a four star general who I worked with for many years. After such a high education and such a long career, he was trying to play the role of a good cop in the ‘good cop, bad cop’ tactic. However, these people turned into robots with an order,” Güler said.
He also noted that nearly 4,000 personnel had been dismissed from the Gendarmerie General Command since July 15, 2016, but the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is now “at its most successful stage of the last 40 years.”
“We lost nearly 25 percent of our officers, but the heroic children of our country are making history, working a thousand times more and filling the gaps. Due to the damage we have given to the PKK, that group is now in a very difficult situation,” Güler added.