The head of the General Staff Personnel Planning Department, Brig. Gen. Mehmet Partigöç, is one of the prominent figures of the July 15 coup attempt. Partigöç, who is part of the think-tanks who prepared the coup, is the person who prepared the 20-item Operation Lightning Bolt martial law order in which there were appointments and lists.
On July 15th, putschist soldiers logged on to the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) messaging system from the General Staff Headquarters and sent the declaration of martial law, which included the signatures of Col. Cemil Turan and Partigöç, to the troops under their command. The main purpose of the putschists was to release the declaration after getting the signature of Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar. Akar's refusal to sign the coup declaration changed the putschist’s plan to involve the chain of command.
The Ankara Public Prosecutor's Office, investigating the bloody FETÖ coup attempt, revealed that, Partigöç, Brig. Gen. Erhan Caha, Rear Adm. Irfan Arabacı (fugitive), Staff Col. İlhan Karasu, Brig. Gen. Faruk Bal and Capt. Mustafa Şaban Gümüşiğne were the brains of the putschists’ Peace at Home Council. Partigöç, who was at the General Staff Command on the evening of the coup attempt, was detained on charges of preparing the coup plot, violating the Constitution, committing crimes against the legislative body, and the government and establishing or managing a military terrorist organization.
The statement given to the prosecutor's office by Partigöç, who signed the Operation Lightning Bolt declaration and who was appointed by the putschists as responsible for the General Staff Command, said:
"I generally leave work around 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. I was sitting in my office on the day of the event. I heard a noise and I went out to the garden around 8:00 p.m. There was a hustle, they said it was a drill. On the way back to my office, I learned that the branch chief, Cemil Turan, was looking for me at the entrance of the building. Cemil Turan told me during a meeting that we had on an official phone lineDeputy Chief of General Staff Yaşar Güler's aide, Maj. Mehmet, brought orders for sending several messages. I went to the office of the Deputy Chief of General Staff to get confirmation. He was not there. When I asked Special Principal Clerk Bünyamin Tuncer where he was, he said that there is now an uncertain situation and that he was taken out of the barracks. Then I told branch chief Cemil Turan to fulfill whatever his command is.
Partigöç, who said that he saw military personnel wearing military uniforms in the garden when he went outside after the noise he heard, said: "I warned them. I went to Col. Cengiz, who is the commander of the support troops responsible for the security of the military lodging, and asked him what the situation was. He said he didn’t know. He said that he warned him it might not be friendly fire.
"We examined camera footage"
Partigöç, who explained that later on he and Col. Cengiz went to the camera recording room of the military lodging and examined them, said:
"I saw the chief of staff through the camera. He was heading toward the helicopter pad with a general and two guards. Then I went to my own office first, and then I went to the office of the chief of General Staff, which was located on the same floor. I did not enter the commander's room. I sat in a chair next to the aide."
“Partigöç said, "We discussed the situation with the Chief of General Staff Principal Clerk Ramazan Göze and aide, Maj. Levent. Afterward, I called the General Staff Operations Center and I asked them. They told me that they continued doing their own business and that there was no change in their situation. Later on, I called Akıncı Air Base Operations Center around 10:00 p.m. They told me that our commander was there. From that time on, I followed the news in the media."
Later on, Partigöç asserted that he commanded personnel of the support troops and of the Special Forces that there should be no conflict, he said: "The commander of the Support Troops told me that he assigned personnel responsible for environmental safety. Later on, three or four armored vehicles arrived at the General Staff district. I gave the order to take armored vehicles inside ordering not to harm people. They took the vehicles inside.” Partigöç said that he went to his office afterward and followed the news on the media until morning.
‘The prosecutor from the army called me’
Partigöç’s said that his superior, Lt. Gen. Ilhan Talu’s aide called him on the phone. Then he continued:
"Talu said that the situation had developed in a different way [as expected] and that negotiations should be held with those at the General Staff Headquarters. He said that he had orders implying the General Staff personnel should lay down their arms and leave the barracks. I told the situation to the Support Troops commander. He said that he gathered private and noncommissioned officers and that they would leave orderly. When I went to the command echelon’s floor at 10:30 p.m., I saw that Special Forces personnel were deployed. I called the seniors among them. I delivered them the order from the chief of General Staff, and they said they would evaluate it among them. After a while, they called me and said that they accepted it and they would go out. I talked to Lt. Gen. Ilhan Talu again and asked him how we would carry out the process. He said a prosecutor will come to the main entrance and call me.
Partigöç said that the prosecutor called him from the main entrance of the General Staff Command and told him that they should take off their clothes, lay down their weapons and leave. Partigöç said that the Special Forces personnel did not accept it and said that they wanted to go out with their pants and shirts on. Partigöç said that the prosecutor accepted this and Special Forces personnel left the building after placing their arms in sight. They also had eight to 10 headquarters' personnel with them.
‘I didn’t receive any instructions’
Partigöç, telling that later he called the prosecutor again, also said:
"The prosecutor asked me to come as well, so I went to the main entrance. The rest of the personnel were on the buses and the prosecutor separated me from them. He introduced me to the commander of the Special Forces there. He asked: 'What is the situation?' I said: 'The Special Forces have left.’ I was in the prosecutor’s car. Later, the police took me away and I got on the bus. I do not have any relation to the coup attempt. I know of Fetullah Gülen as far as I heard from the media. I am not involved with Fetullah. I didn’t go to their homes, I didn’t go to their private teaching institutions when I was a student. Sometimes there are allegations in the army related to people involved with Fetullah, I, personally, don’t know anything. I didn’t witness anything. I know about these allegations due to my job, and I examine them. Usually, we try to confirm with MİT and police sources. We present these to our own authorities. There has never been anyone that we designated as a Fetullah supporter. However, we wanted suspicious people to be removed from critical posts."
“Partigöç emphasized that he didn’t discover anyone from personnel under his command among those who participated in the coup attempt, and said: "I didn’t take any instructions from anyone about the coup attempt, and I did not give any instructions to anyone either. I have no information about coup attempt preparations.”