Nato commander

Former NATO commander ‘behind failed coup against Erdogan’

ANKARA: The former commander of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces in Afghanistan, retired US Army General John F. Campbell, was the mastermind behind the failed military coup in Turkey, the Yeni Safak daily has reported, citing sources close to investigation.

General John F. Campbell, 59, was “one of the top figures who organized and managed the soldiers behind the failed coup attempt in Turkey,” the conservative paper’s English-language edition said on Monday.

The paper is known for its loyal support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was the target of the coup attempt.

According to Yeni Safak, Campbell “also managed more than $2 billion in transactions via UBA Bank in Nigeria by using CIA links to distribute among the pro-coup military personnel in Turkey.”

The retired US general had allegedly paid ‘at least two secret visits’ to Turkey since May up to the attempted coup, which the Turkish authorities blamed on what they call the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, warned on Monday that ties with Washington could suffer unless they extradite the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, Erdogan’s ideological adversary. Washington has repeatedly said that Turkey must provide solid evidence of any links Gulen might have to the attempted coup before any possible extradition process is discussed.

The Turkish daily reported that Campbell had top secret meetings at the Erzurum military base and Incirlik air base in Turkey, adding that the US general “directed the process of trending / blacklisting the military officers in the base.”

According to the paper, “Millions of dollars of money has been transferred from Nigeria to Turkey by a group of CIA personnel. The money, which has been distributed to an 80-person special team of the CIA, was used to convince pro-coup generals. After taking money from their bank accounts, the CIA team hand-delivered it to the terrorists under the military dresses.”

The Turkish government and President Erdogan are using this as a pretext to put pressure on the US in an effort to get Gulan extradited, the founder and director of the Centre for Turkey Studies and Development in London, Ibrahim Dogus, told RT.

“President Erdogan has been trying very hard to hunt down [anyone] linked, loyal or associated with Gulen at this moment in Turkey.”

Washington later dismissed accusations that Campbell was the mastermind behind the coup, with White House press secretary Josh Earnest calling the allegations against the general unsubstantiated.

A total of 13,165 people have been detained in connection with the foiled coup attempt in Turkey, President Erdogan said on Sunday. He mentioned that 8,838 of those arrested are soldiers, 2,101 are judges and prosecutors, 1,485 are police officers, 52 are local authorities and 689 are civilians, as reported by the Hurriyet daily. He added that 934 schools, 109 dormitories, 15 universities, 104 foundations, 35 health institutions, 1,125 associations and 19 unions were closed as they belonged to what he described as “the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization.”

A joint indictment of 73 suspects, including Gulen, was approved by an Ankara court on Saturday.

During a speech to the Turkish parliament, Erdogan called Gulen, his former ally, a “dishonest traitor.”

“The FETO terror group, who are abusing people’s tax money to purchase guns, tanks, warplanes, heavy weapons and use against the nation, are rascals, traitors and dishonest,” Erdogan said last week, branding FETO “a virus that has metastasized.”

On Monday, the Turkish government issued detention warrants for over 40 journalists suspected of having links to the failed military coup, NTV reported.

Amnesty International sounded the alarm on Sunday, saying it gathered ‘credible evidence’ that people arrested in relation to the failed coup attempt have been “subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, in official and unofficial detention centers in the country.”

“Reports of abuse including beatings and rape in detention are extremely alarming, especially given the scale of detentions that we have seen in the past week. The grim details that we have documented are just a snapshot of the abuses that might be happening in places of detention,” said Amnesty International’s Europe director, John Dalhuisen.

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