Former Deputy Chief of the General Staff Çevik Bir told the prosecutor that he had just implemented the orders of the government, the National Security Council (MGK) and the Prime Minister, Hürriyet daily newspaper reports.
Rt. Gen. Bir said that the activities of the Western Working Group were “legitimate.” He added that the documents and reports compiled by the Western Working Group had been submitted to the Chief of the General Staff and the Prime Minister.
According to Milliyet daily newspaper, Bir told the court that his colleagues who drafted the plan of action of the Western Working Group “went too far.” Nevertheless, he insisted that the plan of action had never been implemented.
“We have not used force. Erbakan resigned on his own,” Bir said.
Bir said that Erbakan stepped down in line with a protocol signed with his coalition partner Tansu Çiller. “He resigned so that Çiller can undertake the presidency. His goal was to preserve the coalition government of the same parties. However, that time’s President Süleyman Demirel decided to give the task of forming a new government to somebody else,” he noted.
According to Akşam daily newspaper, Çevik Bir told the court that the government was toppled by Demirel, not by the army.
Taraf daily newspaper says Bir told the prosecutor that his colleagues overstepped their authority in the Western Working Group, but in the court he changed his mind and denied this view.
Sabah daily newspaper says that Bir’s explanations were “ridiculous.”
“We have not destroyed the government. In fact, we have protected the government,” Bir is quoted as saying by Sabah.
Sabah compares the “ridiculous” defense of Bir to the claims of former General Director for Security Mehmet Ağar who said he was not guilty even though there were some faults in his activities and to the statements of Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik who killed 77 people in twin attacks in Norway last year but pleased “not guilty” in the court.
Sözcü daily newspaper in turn publishes documents proving that Rt. Gen. Bir was right when he said that he had just implemented the orders of the government.
One of the documents is the declaration for fighting “reactionism” issued at the MGK meeting on February 28. The document is signed by that time’s Prime Minister Erbakan, as well as by Deputy Prime Minister Tansu Çiller, Defense Minister Turhan Tayan and Interior Minister Meral Akşener.
Another document is a notification about MGK decision to combat “reactionism” issued by the Prime Ministry on March 14, 1997. Sözcü says that with this document Prime Minister Erdoğan issued instructions for the arrangement needed to implement the decisions adopted by MGK.
Yeni Akit daily newspaper in turn reveals a secret document showing that the junta was ready to resort to blackmain, kidnapping and economic lynching to silence the Islamists.