Posted by: hevallo | May 6, 2010

Listen, General Başbuğ!

Listen, General Başbuğ by Ahmet Altan

In a disrespectful and arrogant fashion that by far overstepped the boundaries of good manners, you accused us of “treachery” and of being “worse than the armistice press.”

In a serious country, a serious chief of General Staff would have proof when he accuses someone of “treachery,” and the person so accused would immediately be tried for committing a serious crime.
But since you are not solemn and talk as if you’re talking amongst friends at a local coffee house and make up allegations, no one other than a few shameless, feeble writers who’ve devoted their lives to “military advocacy” took you seriously.
At best, what you said will only serve as a “base” for the attempts of some juvenile who will say, “I killed them because I heard the chief of General Staff say they were traitors.”

“Treachery” is a serious crime.

Planning a coup, for example, is “treachery.”

Opening fire on people on May 1 is treachery.

Killing people to keep the country “in chaos” and create a stir is treachery.

Tampering with surveillance cameras on the day of the Council of State attack and misleading the nation to spark conflict is treachery.

Vacating military posts on the road that Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants were going to use as has been reported in official documents on the Dağlıca attack, causing dozens of young people to be killed, is treachery.

Allowing young people to be slaughtered at the military outpost in Aktüten by not taking measures to deter an attack even though “satellite images” showed that PKK militants were coming is treachery.

A portion of these “crimes” is facing trial. The rest of them will face trial one by one as Turkey democratizes. Now let us come to the Sarıyayla raid, which led you to accuse us of “treachery.”

I also think there is betrayal and treachery involved in this incident.

But it is not treachery to ask, “Why did those young men die?”

Treachery is abandoning them to die. Şamil Tayyar and Adem Yavuz Arslan both wrote that the PKK would raid military outposts to foment chaos so as to impair constitutional reform and provided a list of places that would be hit.

A land mine first exploded in Giresun, which was mentioned by both writers. Then came the attack on the military outpost in Tunceli. And those young men died in that attack. We wrote about the story of that raid, how it happened and how it evolved in today’s sub-headlines.

The commander and deputy commander of the military outpost and soldiers next to them fought valiantly to save their comrades.

They sacrificed their lives for a mission and profession they believed in.

These kinds of brave and self-sacrificing people win the respect of both their friends and their foes.

But what did you do?

Journalists knew a raid would occur in Tunceli, and all the intelligence on this had been delivered to the “officials.” So what kind of measures did you take? What preparations did you make to keep children who’ve been placed in your care alive to stop the attack before it happened and to deter those who were involved in the raid? I don’t think you have the courage to openly answer this question, so let me answer it. You did not take any precautionary measures, you did not prepare for it in any way.

You left young men defenseless in a defenseless military outpost located in a defenseless area. The boys at the outpost were not able to realize that PKK ‘terrorists’ had infiltrated nearby homes because they did not have sufficient resources.

Why didn’t you protect those kids? Why did you leave them all alone on top of a mountain without enough weapons when you knew a raid was going to happen?

Why, even though an “ambulance” reached the raided military post, could “aid” forces not? How can a commander in your army not access an area that an ambulance can?

You said you were not able to protect those kids because “it was raining.” I don’t think there has been a more humiliating explanation for a commander in the history of the military.

A sensible person should explain to you what soldiers in military posts in that region will feel every time it “rains” after this announcement.

Now stop accusing others and explain to the country that made you a general why you did not take measures to prevent attacks that are part of a “chaos plan,” why you left those soldiers in the military outpost without enough weapons and resources and why you arrived after the ambulance.

When you look at the incident in light of all of this, who is “treacherous”: those who write these facts or those who didn’t protect those soldiers?

What are you going to say to the families of that sergeant and the others who died for their friends and whom you left all alone without defense or aid?

Those soldiers are dead now.

Tell us, General, who is responsible for their deaths? Which “treachery” cost them their lives?

Source: Zaman (Originally appeared in Taraf 5th May)


  1. Ahmet Altan is actually angry at the Chief of General Staff Basbug because Basbug has not been very effective in producing well-equipped Rambos. Zerkes

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