Ex-Attaché to Israel among coup leaders, according to Haaretz

According to an article published in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, among the six senior army commanders arrested in connection with the failed coup in Turkey, there is General Akin Öztürk, who in the 1990s was the Turkish military attaché to Israel.

Öztürk, who later served as the commander of Turkey’s air force, served in his country’s Tel Aviv embassy from 1998 to 2000, according to Haaretz. The 64-year-old military figure stepped down as air force commander last year, but continued to serve on Turkey’s Supreme Military Council. Though now considered an archenemy of Turkish authorities, particularly of its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prior to Friday’s coup attempt he was a celebrated military leader, boasting medals from his own air force as well as from NATO, the Israeli news website Ynet noted.

Israeli Air Force entertains excellent relations with Turkish Air Force and, during the last five years it has developed also excellent relations with Greek Air Force. (Relations between Greek and Israeli armed forces have received also a tremendous boost under PM Tsipras, who is believed to entertain an excellent relation with Simon Peres already since 2012 and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos).

The Turkish prosecutor’s office has announced that Gen. Öztürk and his alleged partners would be tried on charges of treason. At least five other generals were detained in connection with the coup, including the commander of the Second Army, General Adem Huduti, the most senior officer to be apprehended so far. The Second Army, based in Malatya, protects Turkey’s borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran. The Malatya Garrison Commander Avni Angun, and the third army commander Erdal Öztürk were also detained, Hurriyet reported.

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A Turkish official said Saturday that those behind the attempted coup had been preparing for some time to overthrow the Turkish government. They had planned, for example, which military officers would take over as governors and as the heads of government agencies, the official said, but moved their plans forward due to an upcoming meeting of the Supreme Military Council, which convenes every August to consider military appointments and retirements.

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