Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday harshly criticized İlker Başbuğ, the former chief of general staff, who recently made comments accusing members of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) of ties to terrorism, the Turkish media reported.
Speaking at his party’s group meeting, Erdoğan responded to Başbuğ, who had called for an investigation into the passage of an AKP-supported bill in June 2009 that allowed military personnel to be tried by specially authorized courts.
“I am asking all who served as deputies in 2009, particularly those of my party group, to file lawsuits against İlker Başbuğ in order to protect the rights of parliament,” Erdoğan said.
The 2009 bill facilitated the Ergenekon trial, in which a number of military officers were prosecuted for allegedly plotting a coup against the AKP government.
The case, which led to a brief imprisonment for Başbuğ, was ultimately dismissed and all the defendants were acquitted. Some government officials as well as pro-government media published reports asserting that the Ergenekon trial was the work of judges, prosecutors and police officers affiliated with the faith-based Gülen movement.
“Who drafted that bill? This [issue] is completely about FETÖ, and it should be investigated,” Başbuğ said, using a derogatory term adopted by those who view the movement as a terrorist group.
Başbuğ’s remarks arguably implied that the AKP deputies who took part in passing the bill were the “political branch” of the group.