Events in the Navy

From: AA – Metin Girgin

On 15 July, 2016, Chief of the Turkish Navy ADM Bulent BOSTANOGLU met Fleet Commander ADM Veysel KOSELE for a graduation ceremony at Heybeliada, an island in Istanbul where the Naval High School is located. They had a private meeting several hours before the events took place later on.

ADM KOSELE was later allegedly detained in the frigate TCG YAVUZ. According to ADM BOSTANOGLU’s testimony, he was able to talk with his mobile phone several times to ADM KOSELE during his detention. It was strange that KOSELE, under detention, could report his status to ADM BOSTANOGLU and communicate with his wife, using his mobile phone.

Several admirals and officers were at the Navy HQ on that night. According to their testimonies, they had taken proper actions to defend the HQ against a possible terror attack and the warships were directed to leave harbors for the same reason. ADM BOSTANOGLU testified that he was informed about some suspicious activity at the Turkish Navy HQ at 22:43 by a call from RADM Macit ARSLAN, Chief of Personnel at Turkish Navy HQ, and the acting Chief of Staff on 15 July. ARSLAN, in fact, never went to the HQ and never communicated with the Admirals there. He went to a friend’s house to hide. Commander Askin OGE from the Navy HQ, accompanied him.

BOSTANOGLU’s communication throughout the night was selective. He did not call the Admirals at the Navy HQ to question their actions. Nor he called  RADM Hakan USTEM,  Commander of the Coast Guard, to order the return of the ships, which left the harbor. Instead, he communicated people like RADM Ozdem KOCER, who was the Commander of Naval Training Center, who had no authority on the warships in the sea. BOSTANOGLU kept continuous communication with ARSLAN and OGE till the morning.

Commander ASKIN OGE testified that he was quick to understand that there was a coup attempt by the Gulenists in the Military. He further stated that at 23:38, 23:46, 00:39, 02:38, and 03:37, he called his close friend Ismail YILDIRIM, AKP’s Karamursel/Izmit Major, informed him about the attempt, and urged him to reach ERDOGAN to speak on the TVs and encourage the people throughout the country to proceed to the streets, so that the attempt could fail.

After the events, ADM BOSTANOGLU and RADM ARSLAN trusted OGE’s accusations for purging and arrests of many admirals and officers.

Several ships left the harbors with the suspicion of a massive terror attack, which fits the Turkish Navy’s doctrines and training. None of the Turkish Navy officers fired a single shot, and none of the cadets in Naval Academy and Naval High School got involved in the events. However, tens of admirals and hundreds of naval officers were arrested, and hundreds of cadets were purged afterward. Arrests were selective. For example, some commanding officers and officers were arrested, while the others from the same ship were not. Admirals like Sinan Azmi TOSUN, who were on vacation and informed their superiors that did not involve in the events, were jailed only because their names were on the assignment lists.