Halis Tunç: The turkish embassy in Athens, during the coup attempt in 2016
Captain Halis Tunç was the Turkish naval attache in Greece, in 2016. For the first time, two years after the coup attempt in Turkey. What happened the night of the coup in the turkish embassy in Athens? Today he lives far away from his country, somewhere in Europe.
Interview with Ioanna Iliadi
(The story, originally published in Greek language, has 3 parts and will be posted within next days. This is the first part)
First of all, I would like to thank you Ioanna for your questions aiming to shed light on ambiguousness’ over the coup. Normally I expected interview request from Turkish media first especially from private Turkish broadcaster NTV for confirmation of the created story by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who made live interview with NTV On 11th August 2016 upon my leave.
I know it is very difficult for Turkish media to write truths or things which are different than Government’s statement. Why it is important, because the government or those who doesn’t want Turkish people to learn truths about Nightmare Night also want to write my or other victims’ stories in such a manner that pave way for proving their faked-up stories.
Q: Why you have shown up now, 2 years after the events?
There are a several things affected my decision.
– I am not immediately welcomed by the country where I applied for asylum, I waited around 1.5 year to be granted. Therefore, it took long time to settle down. In addition house, kids, school, language etc.
– At the beginning the self-coup incident was very fresh. And people could not listen to me without prejudiceD approach. Recently Turkish people not much but start to question more what really happened that night.
– At the beginning of the coup attempt I did not have enough information about the incident, in fact, I was not very different than regular person who are unaware of what happened during this unfortunate night. I acted as analyst last 15 years and to reach any result you need some facts.
Currently after statement of jailed officers in the court, story of other people who suffered from coup and conflicting opinions of key role players such as President, Prime Minister (not available any more), ChiefS of Armed Forces and three Forces, Fleet Commander or investigative reporters (The documentary prepared by journalist Ece Sevim sheds lights on the events happened in Navy during the staged coup on July 15, 2016.
Shortly after journalist Ece Sevim prepared and aired this documentary, she was taken into custody, and still she is in the jail and worse than that she is isolated in a cell.) on the matter have given me enough material for making more reasonable assessment on coup or self-coup.
– I have suddenly lost my fully health father because of deep sadness of the things happened to me who is innocent. He always asked me that “I know you are innocent and all claims are absurd to believe but the people are going to ask, if he is innocent why escaped.”
My answer was if I went Turkey and being arrested just like many innocent people who are in my position, do you think the same people going to not say “If he is innocent, then why arrested”. He was satisfied with my this answer but even so I would like to scream out the truth of mine to all world to make my beloved father lie in peace.
– I have officially asked to the HQ based on the law no. 4982 (The right to request information) that what was my guilt, was I fired from the Navy?
if so what was the accusation? I asked for my court call letter? Due to state of emergency, they told me that we could not answer you. Still waiting answer after being lifted the state of emergency.
Can you imagine? They wrote many things about me, I could not receive accusation on me and I have no idea whether I am discharged or not due to the fact that my name was not listed on the issued decree. Even if there is case on my name in the court! One of the explanation to not give answer was resolution of the Ministry of Defense that “do not give information the soldiers who are possibly terrorist”.
It was very much violation of law due to the fact that any order should not be applied against the law.
– I have also officially requested that Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be taken to the court, who officially declared me as a traitor without any court decision, any evidence and made me target all around the world and the officer who took main role in my unintended journey two years ago. Still no reaction, no answer!
– Last but not the least, I decided to say something which may be not accepted or found it worth by the Turkish people they are still under control of bombardment of controlled media but I also have duty to leave a note in the history for the next generation. They will run after the truth.
Q: What do you think about the coup? It was a real or a fake one?
Ioanna, If you allow me I give very importance to give answer about the story written in Greek media over me.
For the sake of our 3 years together in Greece I consider it necessary to clarify your knowledge of realities by sharing my below story. After having worked 21 years for my country’s interest in fully patriotic manner, my prize is now “to be forced to live in another country”. Addition to depriving of my beloved country, I have been declared as a traitor and A terrorist by the people which I have sacrificed my whole life for.
At the beginning I had no idea about the coup, I knew no more than regular people even Greek ones about the coup. Therefore, I worked fully in cooperation with Turkey’s institutions such as General Staff, my Ambassador etc. To understand the faked up story I need to first mention about my story.
First of all as being completely unaware of Coup Attempt, after office time I went to beach named Balux Café Seaside on 15 July 2016 at 18.00 with my family members and my friend including his family.
Following coming back to home from beach café at around 21.30, I became aware of the development when informed by my wife in panic, who was the first to see “Some armed forces units manoeuvring in very centre of Istanbul” on Turkish TV channel.
And then one of my classmate shared information via WhatsApp group of which all classmates from Naval Academy are member at 21.49 (As seen below), “Head Quarter called all officers immediately to their garrison.”
The funny thing is that the time I learned the coup attempt is on stage, Turkish President, head of secret service, Chief of Navy and other high rank decision makers were still unaware of development.
Afterwards from our superior in General Staff shared information with all Attaches through WhatsApp again Attaches by our superior from TGS (Turkish General Staff) via mobile.
The order says “Inform the competent authorities you are in contact about that Turkish Armed Forces has assumed all governing power” We did not contact any one any authorities including Turkish Ambassador and Greek Authorities. Because Prime Minister, President and some of officers with high rank said opposite.
As you remember Turkish Ambassador in Greece gave very much importance to extradition case of eight Turkish soldiers in Greece. His reaction was stated very often in Greek media. He needed to publish below clarification on his statements (Still available in Tweeter Account Ambassador Kerim Uras) right after coup Turkish Embassy wanted us to enlighten Attaches of allied countries upon Coup Attempt, and we did so as far as we could because then about the failed coup there were still uncertainty available.
Let me give you some example to Defence Attaché’s reaction and orders to his staff. His first order to us through created WhatsApp Group that on 21:59-22:01 “Whatever you learn about development in Turkey do not share with anybody but me, watch Prime Minister’s Statement on TV”.
On 22:21 “The information I got from retired General-It is attempt of small group- is very overlapping with the Statement of Prime Minister”. From the beginning of the unfortunate development he could keep his temper and guide us to act in comply with the official statements of not only Prime Ministers but also other high rank military officers.
My embassy received order from Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding conducting investigation over possible involvement of Turkish Military Attaches in Coup on 16 August 2016. As a reaction, The Turkish Embassy firstly approved and reported our reactions to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs by checking CCTV records immediately on 16 July 2016 and take our verbal statement and seeing WhatsApp Traffic.
One of the interesting question of First counsellor Barış Kalkavan was “While some of the other Attaches in other countries called Ambassador, but why you didn’t.”
Secondly in coming days on 22 July 2016 Turkish Ambassador issued the below Press Release and send clarification (Still available in Tweeter Account Ambassador Kerim Uras) to the missions of other countries in Greece, which says “All personnnel of the Office of the Defence Attaché are in full charge of their duties, without any exception.”
In the other sense this evidential press release was repeating the report addressed to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and showing the reality that “There is no involvement from the Military Attaché Office in Coup Attempt. Thirdly, after failed coup as a Naval Attaché I worked very close with secondary person of the Embassy to prevent any possible effect of coup attempt to Turkey
-Greece relation and taking necessary measures for possible passage of coup attempters from Turkey to Greece, returning the Turkish Helicopter landed Greece right after the Coup Attempt to Turkey. If there were any clue of our involvement in coup, Embassy can not dare to publish clarification or work with me with peace of mind. There are many other things I can tell you concerning my reaction during the coup, but I think it is enough to clarify my innocence.
What was the accusation of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on private broadcaster NTV On 11th August 2016 that “Coup night some Attaches informed Ambassadors about taking the control,…
Two Turkish military attaches in Greece fled to Italy, were on the run after being recalled as part of an inquiry into last month’s failed military coup, ….As of yesterday (10th August 2016), time has run out for those initially called back.
We will carry out the legal operations for those who have not returned. …. & We are working to bring both these traitors back to Turkey& without detailing the allegations against me.
Firstly, nobody from Attaché office called Ambassador at coup night concerning taking control or for anything. Moreover, we met Ambassador Kerim Uras for official farewell on 12th July 2016 due to the fact that he was going to vocation and our mission would end on 07th August 2016.
Secondly, Attaches recalled normal time determined in March 2013 long before we assumed our mission.
And considering that before our leaving our passport were still valid, there were no accusations against me. Thirdly, even though our deadline to join TGS was 15th Aug, without waiting deadline Turkish Foreign declared us as a traitor/terrorist and terrorist on 11 Aug 2016. In the wake of the failed coup, I personally got in touch with Chief of HNDGS National Operation Centre and HNGS Chief of Intelligence Department 24/7;
- – To inform them about measures taken by Turkey on the Aegean Sea to prevent intervenors from crossing to Greek Islands from Turkish Coastline and request cooperation in this manner with Turkey.
- – To ensure returning of the Turkish Military Helicopter which was landed Greece and 8 soldiers who fled to Greece on board as soon as possible.
At that time Greek Military Authorities by showing worthy understanding, made a great effort in close cooperation for returning the helicopter to Turkish Lands without receiving Air Passage Clearance and fortifying measures on the sea against possible passage of attempters from Turkey.
I also need to make clarification about the news released about me and Defence Attaché on Greek media saying “Last time the two military attaches appeared in public was during an event at the Chinese embassy in Athens and they had reportedly expressed their concerns to their fellow military attaches from other countries.
Their whereabouts were unknown, as the two attaches did not attend a NATO handover ceremony on July 29 at the Salamina Naval Base near the Greek capital, the agency confirmed.”
When I noticed the news on Greek Media about NATO SNMCMG-2 Handover/ Takeover Ceremony between Turkish and Greek Officers on July 29 at the Salamina Naval Base near the Greek capital — about which I was not informed by Turkey–, due to very much related to my job description I got permission from the Turkish Naval Forces for my participation into the ceremony and dealing with delegation from Turkey.
Afterwards, I requested invitation from Chief of HNGS Intelligence Department for the event. Greek side again approached positive to my request even it was organised by NATO. But unfortunately, my superior from TGS strictly didn’t give me green light (Not only me but also all Attache Office) on July 26 to participate into NATO SNMCMG-2 Handover-Takeover Ceremony.
Let me tell you the story of mine which created by Turkish General Staff and voiced by Turkish Armed Forces Attaché to Washington Brig-Gen Ümüt YILDIZ that “In wake of failed coup I went to Embassy to take over control of Ambassador’s Office and taken picture on the Ambassador’s Office Chair.”
First of all Turkish Defence Office and Embassy are located in separate addresses and buildings are guarded by policemen and on Friday Embassy is out of work, most important point is that even though Brig-Gen Ümüt YILDIZ acted as a Turkish Air Force Attaché to Greece between 2008-2011. He could comfortably and freely tell a fake story which created by Turkish General Staff.