Lt. Fatih Ekici, an officer with the elite Special Forces Command (ÖKK) in the Turkish military, revealed how he was framed by his commanding officer and severely tortured in 2016.
Ekici was the deputy chief of staff to Deputy Chief of General Staff Yaşar Güler, who was later promoted to the top military position. In a handwritten legal brief he submitted to the 18th High Criminal Court on April 17, 2017 Ekici explained what had happened during a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and afterwards.
On the morning of July 15, Ekici picked up Güler as usual from his home at 07.30 hours and went to General Staff headquarters. He used to work late hours along with Güler, and he did the same that day except that he took his children to a military hospital in the morning and returned to his desk after dropping them off. Around 21.10 he went to the bathroom and a few minutes later, he heard the sound of clashes among the men near the bathroom door. He stayed in the bathroom for safety until things became clearer, while shots could be outside and jets were flying low over the building.
If this was a military drill he would have known about it. The gunshots were not continuous or sustained, so he ruled out the possibility of a terrorist attack on the building. When the commotion in the hall died down and silence fell, he exited from the bathroom and went to his office, where he watched news about the coup events and listened to the prime minister’s call for troops to go home and defy illegal orders. Security footage from the headquarters confirms the account he provided in his letter.
In his testimony in court, Ekici also noted that he encountered Col. Cemil Turhan in the hallway after he exited the bathroom and asked the whereabouts of his commander, Güler. Turhan told him that the commander was in a secure place. He could not reach Mehmet Akkurt, the chief of staff to Güler and his immediate superior officer, and decided to leave the building.
He exited the building and ran into four people from Güler’s protective detail and asked them to go home until things became clear and to drop him off at home on the way as well. Ekici called Maj. Gen. Zekai Aksakallı, then the ÖKK commander who was later promoted to commander of the 2nd Army Corps, to ask what was going on after he learned that ÖKK teams had come to the headquarters. He told Aksakallı that he could organize a team to secure the headquarters, but his offer was rejected by Aksakallı, who told him to stand down as he was already taking measures.
He placed four or five calls to the ÖKK commander to ask if they needed help. In the end Aksakallı told him to come to Special Forces Command headquarters at 09.00 on July 16. “They detained me without asking any questions,” he wrote when he reported to the ÖKK command as instructed by Aksakallı. He was tortured while hogtied for hours and kicked in the head, legs and shoulders by military boots. The physical and verbal assault continued until the evening hours as Aksakallı watched the torture inflicted by his men on Ekici and other victims of the false flag coup bid.
ÖKK Chief of Operations and Training Col. Ümit Bak, who was also framed by Aksakallı, was among the detainees who were severely tortured. Ekici wrote that he saw Aksakallı personally kicking Bak on the ground and heard him shouting at Bak, “Let’s see who is going to screw your wife when you are in prison.” Ekici also named the officers who were involved in the torture in his legal brief. “Lt. Kürşat Doğan, Col. Tan Dervişoğlu, Col. Halil (I can’t remember his last name), a colonel from the ÖKK Intelligence department (I do not remember his name but I can identify him if see him), among others, tortured and beat us and insulted us until evening. Then they turned us over to the police. I was then arrested by a court in Gölbaşı,” Ekici added.
Lt. Ekici pleaded with the court to release him as there was no any evidence to indicate that he was involved with the putschist attempt. He did not have a gun when events unfolded at the headquarters and did not comply with any illegal orders. He stayed away, waiting for instructions, all confirmed by security footage obtained from the surveillance cameras at the headquarters. Yet he was charged with the crime of plotting a coup and put behind bars for years.ÖKK_Fatih_Ekici_darbe