Retired Gen. Bilgin Balanlı, who was among the 236 suspects acquitted in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) coup-plot case, has said the United States or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could have had a finger in the coup case.
The CIA or the U.S.’ “deep state” could have been involved in the case, recalling the testimony of a suspect, who said in 2010 he and a former deputy had picked up a sack full of documents in 2007 to be used in the Balyoz coup plot case from an American senator and a retired Turkish major in Istanbul and taken it to Ankara, according to Balanlı.
Balanlı said the alleged military documents, which became evidence and began the investigation, contained terms the Turkish army did not use and which were known to be used in the U.S. Army.
“For example, we do not use the word ‘ocean’ when we talk about our seas. The term ‘ocean’ was used in some places of the Balyoz coup plot plan. I think that they could have translated this from an American plan,” said Balanlı.
Balanlı, who was the only four-star general on active duty who was a suspect in the coup-plot case, was in line to be appointed to Chief of the Air Staff in August 2011 if he had not been arrested and sent to jail just two months before. He spent two years in jail and was forced to retire.
Balanlı said even though government officials now say they have been deceived about the case they believed they could gain political benefit from the plot case at the time.
“We can say the government perceived they could politically benefit from the case. Maybe both an opinion was formed and they believed the information given to them within the plot. They believed the plotters very much. Now they say they were deceived,” said Balanlı, adding this was a weakness for the Turkish Republic with all its institutions.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said March 19, during his first speech as commander-in-chief at the War Colleges Command, that the “parallel structure” of state officials sympathetic to U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen “misled and deceived” Turkey through the Ergenekon and Balyoz coup-plot cases, claiming he had personally objected to the arrest of top commanders and officers.
Stating he had identified a formation dubbed the “parallel structure” by the government as a “gang” when he lodged a petition to the court during his first trial, Balanlı said it would be “naïve” not to think the “parallel structure” had also stationed its own people inside the army, as some of the documents about the suspects in the case contained information people outside of the military could not have known.
Balanlı said they had struggled on their own to tell the truth to the nation, disclaiming the General Staff and Chief of General Staff Necdet Özel’s contributions to winning the case.
“We made the struggle to enlighten the public and made the nation see the truth. If there is any honor in this matter then it is the honor of the people who have showed the courage to stand by us and the truth. I do not believe the General Staff has [made] any contributions to this,” said Balanlı.