On July 15, a pilot working in the Army Aviation Command came to the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and reported that “they will attack MIT from air with a helicopter and abduct Hakan Fidan”. After that report, communication was provided between MIT and the General Staff Headquarters. After the notification by MIT to the General Staff; Army General Hulusi Akar, Land Forces Commander Army General Salih Zeki Çolak, and the 2nd Chief of Staff Army General Yaşar Güler had a meeting. Within this framework, the MIT Deputy Secretary came to the General Staff headquarters and met with Yaşar Güler. Around 6.30 PM, MIT Secretary Hakan Fidan came to the headquarters and met with Akar. After this meeting, the following decision was made: “No aircraft shall fly until further notice, all airborne aircrafts shall return to their bases and all vehicles, especially armored vehicles, shall stop immediately.” Akar ordered the Army General to take the most urgent and most effective precautions. Çolak immediately went into action to supervise the divisions. Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar continued working in his office at the General Staff headquarters.
Shortly after the departure of the MIT Secretary Hakan Fidan, the putschists acted. Around 09.00 PM, Mehmet Dişli, Chairman of the General Staff Strategical Transformation Department, came to the office of the Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar and said, “Commander, the operation has started. We will get everyone. Troops and brigades set off. You will see soon.” and tried to convince Akar to lead them. Dişli left the room after facing Hulusi Akar’s harsh reaction. Akar’s aide-de-camp Colonel Levent Türkkan, Captain Serdar Tekin, Sergeant Abdullah, Principal Clerk Colonel Ramazan, and Orhan Yıkılkan were waiting for Dişli right outside the office. Dişli told them “He is there. Go in.” The Chief of Staff was brought to Mürted 4th Main Jet Base by helicopter. Akar was taken to the office of Hakan Evrim, the base commander. Putschists tried to convince the Chief of Staff to sign the declaration. After the abduction of the Chief of Staff, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım assigned the 1st Army Commander Ümit Dündar as the Chief of Staff by proxy. All required precautions were being taken to repel the coup attempt. After the repelling of the coup attempt, Akar was rescued from the Mürted Air base and brought to the Çankaya Complex with a helicopter.
In his six-page statement he gave in his office to the prosecution as a plaintiff, Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar, who was abducted in the coup attempt, stated that he warned the putschists to give up and surrender before it was too late. “I think the biggest reason for these people attempting this madness is the fact that they saw tthey were going to sustain a severe blow from our comprehensive, serious, and thorough works regarding the council of August,” Army General Akar said in his statement to the prosecution.
Akar also stated the following: "I had been observing the morale of putschists traitors deteriorating as the time went by. First, the footage of surrendering tanks on the Bosporus Bridge, and then, more importantly, our President’s address to the crowd gathered at Atatürk Airport. I think that destroyed all hope of traitors."
In his statement at the Ankara Public Prosecution in Ankara, Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar stated, “As the police, governorships, political institution, justice system, intelligence, and armed forces had recently gained successful results in the fight against the terrorism in the southeast with a perfect example of coordination; this treacherous attempt against the Turkish Republic will be remembered as a disgrace in our history.
In his statement he gave to the Ankara Public Prosecution, Army General Akar reminisced that he has been working as the Chief of Staff for almost a year.
Akar also made the following comment regarding FETÖ, “The fight of our government against FETÖ is also a corporate fight we care for with maximum attention and sensitivity. We have been working towards dealing a major blow to this organization with the council meeting that was going to be held in August.”
Akar continued his words:
" A disgrace in our history"
"I think that this terrorist organization predicted what was going to happen and attempted this coup, did some unbelievable things like murdering people, bombing the parliament building, attacking their own brothers and divisions, and bombing police stations with an unimaginable hatred. As the police, governorships, political institutions, the justice system, intelligence, and armed forces had been receiving successful results in the fight against terrorism in the southeast with a perfect example of coordination; this treacherous attempt against the Turkish Republic will be remembered as a disgrace in our history.
Army General Akar noted that he was working in his office around 5.00-6.00 PM when the 2nd Chief of Staff Army Gen. Yaşar Güler came and reported an intelligence from MIT regarding three helicopters being assigned to fly from the Army Aviation Academy.
"I gave an order to stop all flying military aircrafts"
Noting that Güler told him a team was on their way to discuss this information, Akar gave the following information:
"We took the intelligence seriously because of the authority who gave it. Commander Yaşar, Land Forces Commander Salih Zeki Çolak, and I started discussing possible precautions. I immediately spoke with the Battle Command Operation Center in our headquarters and told them that the order included not only Ankara, but all military aircrafts in the country, that they all should return to their bases, and that all new take-offs shall be stopped. 2nd Chief of Staff Yaşar Güler notified the Air Forces Command Operations Center regarding this order and that way our order to stop all aircrafts was transmitted. I gave an order to the Land Forces Commander to press the issue with utmost urgency and attention regarding the confirmation of the intelligence we received from MIT and the reality of the flying activities mentioned in the intelligence. I took personnel from the Center Command and Legal Advisory, and ordered them to go to Army Aviation Academy immediately and solve the issue without any hesitation and also to take all necessary administrative and legislative precautions. I told them to keep me informed at all times.
"In our evaluations, we thought that the intelligence we received might be a part of a bigger plan. We thought the precautions we took might not be enough. I called the Ankara Garrison Commander Army General Metin Gürak on the phone and ordered him to personally go to Etimesgut Armored Division and take precautions to stop any tanks or armored vehicles trying to leave the headquarters. Our meeting was over after we took all possible necessary precautions.
"Dişli said ‘we will get everyone’"
Akar said he continued to work in his office and followed the news while doing so. “I’m not exactly sure, but someone knocked on my door around 9.00 PM as I was working in the round table room facing away from the door. I said ‘Come in’ and something like ‘Who are you at this hour?’ When I looked, I saw Major General Mehmet Dişli who was working in the headquarters. In his statement he gave to the prosecution as plaintiff, Army General Akar described the events of the aftermath of Dişli’s arrival as follows:
"Dişli sat on one of the chairs at the table I was sitting. He started talking with excitement and in a different mood from the one I was accustomed to seeing, ‘Commander, the operation has started. We will get everyone. Troops and brigades have set off. You will see soon.’ At first, it didn’t make any sense to me. He might have used the words ‘jet’ in his speech. But I understood that this was operation I might describe as an attempt and yelled with anger: ‘What the hell are you talking about?! What operation?! Are you insane?’ Don’t even think about it!’ As I was facing away from the door, I didn’t see whether the door was open or not.
"I saw Commander Levent"
Army General Akar noted that he asked where the 2nd Chief of Staff and other commanders were and Dişli replied, “Don’t get excited. Relax. They will come.” Akar said he got furious and kept asking questions like “I would have nothing to do with you or anybody else that might be involved with this. How can you talk to me this way? Who are these people? Who are you?” Akar continued his words:
"Naturally, I was very furious. I told him their way was wrong, they will be punished for this, and they should at least end this, before involving anybody else and causing any deaths. But I couldn’t convince him. He was trying to control his anger despite my furious objections. Trying to seem calm, he said ‘Commander, this is over. Everybody is on their way.’ I think at one point Mehmet Dişli moved outside. When I involuntarily faced the door, I saw Captain Serdar, Officer Abdullah, and Commander Levent.”
"Commander, calm down. I will shoot you"
Akar noted that Commander Levent Türkkan was his adjutant, Officer Abdullah worked in the guard team, and Captain Serdar was an assistant adjutant. “Besides these people, an armored and fully equipped personnel with training uniform and helmet, who I think was from Special Forces Command, caught my attention.” said Army General Akar. Akar continued his statement:
"I stood up after I realized that they were trying to rush into the room. At that moment, Levent Türkkan shouted, ‘Commander, sit down. Calm down. Don’t make this difficult.’ Somebody pushed me and made me sit in a chair. Meanwhile, someone stopped me from breathing by covering my nose and mouth with something like a hand towel. Then he wrapped his arm around my neck and squeezed it. I was struggling while some sort of a string from a military uniform was touching my neck and stopping me from breathing. As I was trying to open my nose with my hands, somebody else tied my hands with a plastic restraint. After I resisted, they covered my mouth leaving my nose open. It was obvious they wanted to stop me from yelling. They saw I calmed down as I started breathing normally again and they removed the towel-like thing from my mouth. During this struggle, I started yelling again from the pain caused by the restraints on my wrists. I told them to remove it and even stood up. I heard Levent Türkkan saying things like ‘Commander, calm down. I will shoot you’ with a gun in his hands. I took two steps towards him and yelled ‘Go ahead!’. I saw a mechanical hesitation in his eyes trying to decide whether to shoot or not. Then I asked them to remove my restraints and they took a commando knife probably with the approval of Mehmet Dişli. It was a blunt knife and one of the soldiers tried to cut the restraints. But they didn’t succeed for a long time. I got angry again and started yelling. Then they tried again and cut the restraints. They limited my movement by making me sit with someone behind me.”
"The soldiers were fully equipped"
Akar stated that he started hearing low flying jets outside, got angry and started yelling again but they did not listen to him. Akar noted that he wanted to go to bathroom after a while and added: “When I saw that they were coming with me I started yelling ‘Shameless rascals!’ Officer Abdullah and Captain Serdar never left my side. They always kept a close watch on me. Officer Abdullah never left my back:
Akar continued his statement:
"Some time passed. I didn’t see any news regarding the attempt even though I was hearing the sounds jets and gunshots. Then the footage of soldiers blocking the Bosporus Bridge was broadcasted on the TV. They were all quiet and did not make any comments. After some time, they took me saying ‘We are going’. I asked for my jacket, my cap, and my bag. My cellphone was left in the adjutant’s room. I think they handed my jacket and cap to me. They told me they were going to bring the bag themselves.
Noting that a fully equipped and armed soldier with a steel helmet and a scary face caught his attention, and that he later found out that this person was Staff Colonel Fırat Alakuş, Akar said that fully equipped soldiers were positioned at the foyer area and the floor.
"They pointed their weapons at me"
Akar, who was taken down the stairs, said "I saw a soldier walking backwards with his weapon pointed at me. I yelled again: “What the hell are you doing?!" Akar said that he saw a helicopter waiting by the Atatürk statue when they left the building and made him get in the helicopter. “I repeatedly told them that my glasses were in the bag. But they didn’t give it to me. The helicopter took off. They didn’t tell me where we were going. I didn’t ask them. The armed soldier was pointing his weapon at me. Mehmet Dişli was in the helicopter as well. We landed after flying for a while. I asked them where they brought me and they told me it was the Mürted Base. Then they put me in a minibus and took me to a building."
"Akın Öztürk came to me alone"
In his statement he gave to the prosecution as a plaintiff, Army General Akar said the building he was taken to had a sign ‘Base Command Building’ written on it and there were many civilians and solders waiting with their weapons. Akar noted that then he was taken to the office of the base commander, and Major General Kubilay Selçuk was waiting there on his feet. Akar added that he sat on a couch and, Army General Akın Öztürk came up to him alone in a t-shirt and trousers. Army General Akar stated the following:
"I was shocked from both the situation I was in and from seeing him. I asked him what he was doing there. He told me he came to the headquarters from Izmir with his wife and Land Forces Commander with a plane belonging to the Command, that Abidin Ünal called him on the phone regarding jets taking off from the base, while he was at his daughter’s house in the upper lodgment, and that he came there to check what was going on. He also told me that he tried telling them that, but they didn’t listen. I told him what I had been saying since the start of the events. I saw Admiral Ömer Harmancık and Brig. General Hakan Evrim. I repeated what I said before. I told them what they were doing was wrong, they must have lost their minds, and that could not happen at this age. I said things like, ‘Are you not seeing what is happening in Syria and Egypt? Don’t you know how far back this could take our country?’ They didn’t even care.
"Evrim said ‘We can arrange a meeting with Fetullah Gülen’"
Army General Akar noted that Admiral Ömer Harmancık first read a two-page text and then gave it to him to read saying, “Commander, read this. Everything is going to be great if you sign this and read it on TV. We are getting and bringing everyone.” Akar stated he angrily refused this offer and continued:
"I yelled at them things like ‘Who do you think you are? Who are you? Where is the 2nd Chief of Staff and force commanders you told me you got? Where are the ministers? Bring me whoever you got! Who are you working for?’ Then Hakan Evrim said, ‘If you wish, I can arrange a meeting with Fetullah Gulen, who is our opinion leader. I refused him saying ‘I won’t meet with anybody.' Then everybody except Akın Öztürk left the room. I think we got into the office of the base commander at midnight. I was saying the same things to Commander Akın Öztürk as well. He was saying that they didn’t listen to him. Officer Abdullah stayed in the room I was in for a while. As I recall, there was another person who I thought was an assistant adjutant.
"He told me a team of 30-40 people was there"
I didn’t touch or read the so-called declaration they wanted me to read and sign. When they read it to me, I listened mockingly and without giving it any importance. In fact, I remembered the name of the junta these traitors formed as the “Council of Patriots” even though it was “Peace at Home Council”. My anger and fury did not end. They didn’t tell me anything regarding who was involved in the council. Sometimes, people in room left and returned. Akın or somebody else told me that a different lobby was used as the operations center and a team of 30-40 people was there. I didn’t see that. I stayed in the same room during the time I was held captive."
"I noticed the despair in their eyes"
Chief of Staff Akar noted that after some time they turned off the TV in the room he was held in. Akar stated that he told the soldiers what they did was wrong and that they should at least let him talk to his wife. Akar described those moments as follows:
"I talked to my wife on the phone from the military line and told her that I was at the Mürted Air base and that they should take good care of themselves. I understood later that my wife shared this information with the related officers. When they switched on the TV after 2-3 hours, the news said they were bombing the parliament building and police stations. I was also still hearing the sounds of jets. I got angry and started yelling again. When they came back, Ömer said they were ready to die. They were all like robots. I said the same things when Mehmet Dişli came to the room alone. But he told me they won’t listen to me. Admiral Ömer Harmancık was the one who talked the most. After I saw developments on the news like the statements of our President and Prime Minister with some other ministers, the resistance of the citizens against the coup attempt putting their lives on the line, and soldiers surrendering and people or the police taking control of soldiers; the behavior of those four people started to change. I noticed the despair in their eyes. They were becoming demoralized. I said to them ‘You have sunk enough. At least be a man and stop this now. Stop other people from dying. Pull all your tanks or whatever you have back. You embarrassed yourselves enough. What you have done is worse than the Balkan wars. You have disgraced the history of the Turkish Armed Forces. The only place you will go now is the Public Prosecution, Military Prosecutor, and the provost. Surrender. And release me.’ I said those words loudly with even more fury. They didn’t answer. After some time, I started hearing explosions. They told me that the runways were getting bombed.
Our President’s speech destroyed all the hopes of the traitors
In his six-page statement he gave to the prosecution as a plaintiff, Army General Akar said that he told the putschists to surrender before it was too late. "I had been observing the morale of putschists traitors deteriorating as the time went by. First the footage of surrendering tanks on the Bosporus Bridge, and then more importantly, our President’s address to the crowd gathered at the Atatürk Airport. I think that destroyed all the hopes of the traitors.“ commented Akar.
Noting that he hasn’t seen Admiral Ömer Harmancık and Brig. General Hakan Evrim since, Akar stated “I was yelling to their faces as loudly as possible that there was nothing they could do after that point but that was the worst thing anybody could do the armed forces and the history of Turkey. Thinking of the young and innocent I told them they were finished and they should stop the attack and pull the troops back to their barracks . I remember Kubilay and Mehmet. They were finished. They were not saying anything but I could see the worry and fear in their eyes. I think it was around 08.30-09.00 in the morning. I told them it was possible to finish this before causing more damage if they would let me talk to the President and tell him that they were going to cease the attempt, surrender to justice, and pull back all the troops to their barracks. Because the base was being bombed from outside. It could have gotten to an irrevocable point.”
There won’t be any negotiations
Army General Akar, who noted that he noticed putschists realizing the attempt was going to fail, said: "They said they would let me talk. They brought a cell phone and let me talk to the Prime Minister. I told him about the situation. Looking in the eyes of the traitors, I said to the Prime Minister, ‘There won’t be any negotiations. They will surrender to the Public Prosecution, Military Prosecutor, the police, and the provost.’ Similarly, I called the MIT secretary and briefed him as well."
Noting that Commander Akın Öztürk wanted to come with him when Akar himself was going to be taken, Hulusi Akar continued:
"I thought that would be inappropriate given his position and the observations I had throughout the night. I told him ‘You stay here, your daughter’s house is here’. But he kept insisting. We left him at the base and left there. We went to the helipad with a car. There were several helicopters there. I observed some activity. Somebody pointed a helicopter and they started it. But when somebody said others might shoot at the helicopter, somebody else said something like ‘We need to inform them the Chief of Staff is in it’. In fact, Mehmet Dişli said ‘I will make contact via phone.’ even though I told him to stay. When the helicopter was about to move, he briefed somebody regarding the situation. He was contacting someone else when the helicopter was on air. Finally, we landed at the Çankaya Prime Ministry Complex. The Prime Minister’s Secretary met with us there. Mehmet Dişli came after me. I didn’t check who was behind me. We entered the building. I was finally free. When we were one on one with the Secretary, he asked who was following me. I told him what happened and decided that it would be wise to arrest Mehmet Dişli. Then I saw him being arrested."
They prepared my room for another person
Noting that 2nd Chief of Staff Army General Yaşar Güler came to the headquarters before him after the events, Akar said “A strange thing he told me, which he might have noticed during his inspection at my office, my room was carefully tidied up. But I was forced from my room with violence while I was working. The work table, coffee table, books on shelves, office materials, chocolate, food, drinks, newspapers, and other items were neat and arranged well. However, some items were lost and the places of two trinkets were changed.
Pointing out the two items which have not been found yet, the gun which was given by MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli as a gift and which Akar kept as a souvenir, and his personal cell phone which he thinks he left in his adjutant’s room, Akar said this was another proof that the office was prepared for someone else. Army General Akar presented four photographs of his office which were taken during routine works and attached to the case file.
"Plotters of the coup belong to this organization"
Akar said these incidents prove how important the determination of the Turkish government and Turkish Armed Forces was in the fight against these terrorists, which is also called the parallel structure. Akar completed his statement as follows:
"I think that the biggest reason these people attempted this madness is the fact that they saw that they were going to get a severe blow by our comprehensive, serious, and thorough works regarding the council of August. The 2nd Chief of Staff and I had increasing suspicions in regard to the connections of the personnel around us with this organization. We were going to take very significant steps in the council. Apart from that, the progress of the investigations at the courts and all institutions of the government regarding this terrorist organization was probably another reason for this. I want to press charges on anyone in this organization that hurt me, my nation, my brothers in arms, my police friends, government offices, Turkish history, and our civilization.
Emphasizing that the actions of these traitors, who disgraced TAF’s reputation in one night which had been earned with the blood and tears of our martyrs and veterans, shall not be forgotten; Akar stated, “I believe their punishment will be severe.”