Turkish Chief of Staff testifies

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Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar said that the putschists tried to force him to speak to Turkish opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara suspects of being behind the recent coup attempt.

In the wake of the coup attempt, Akar was taken hostage by a group of soldiers and delivered to Akincilar Air Base, thought to have been the headquarters from where the coup was planned.

"Major General Mehmet Dişli sat on a chair next to my table and said in an anxious manner 'Sir, the operation is starting, we will round up people, battallions, brigades are on their way, you will see a little bit later.' At first I couldn't make any sense of it, maybe he said planes inside the sentence, but I figured out that this was something that I could describe as a coup attempt and yelled in rage 'What the hell are you saying, what operation, are you a maniac, never.' I did not notice if the door was open or not as I was facing backwards. I asked where the deputy chief of staff and other commanders are. He [Dişli] replied by saying 'Don't worry, stay calm, he will come.' I keep asking questions like "I wouldn't have anything to do with you, some other or others involved in such of a business, how can you talk to me like this, who are these people, who are you?' I was very angry," the Daily Sabah cited his statement as saying.

Akar said that Brig. Gen. Hakan Evrim tried to convince him to talk to Gulen, but he refused. He added that he had been trying to persuade coup-plotting officers to drop the plan.

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