Former military chief to testify in website probe Thursday
Former Chief of General Staff retired Gen. İlker Bashbug is set to testify for the İstanbul Specially Authorized Prosecutor's Office as part of a probe into allegations that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had set up websites to disseminate anti-government propaganda Today`s Zaman reported
On Sunday, the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court asked the İstanbul Prosecutor's Office to include Başbuğ in the anti-government website probe. Several other suspects in the case referred to Başbuğ during their interrogation. Former 1st Army Commander retired Gen. Hasan Igsız, Lt. Gen. Mehmet Eroz and Capt. Murat Uslukılıc stated that Başbug had given the order to set up the propaganda websites.
The investigation into the propaganda websites began in 2010 based on evidence found in the home of retired Col. Hasan Ataman Yıldırım, another suspect in the website case. Later, an anonymous tipster from inside the military sent an email to inform the public and prosecutors that the General Staff had established 42 websites for the sole purpose of disseminating propaganda about the government and religious communities.
Claims emerged that the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism, a suspected military plot to discredit the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the faith-based Gülen movement, was posted on a number of websites that are believed to have been set up by the General Staff to support TSK propaganda campaigns against civilian groups and the government.
The two cases, the propaganda websites case and the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism case, were merged in August by the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The content of the websites indicates they were used as part of the action plan.