All confidential documents related to the ongoing Balyoz Sledgehammer case were stolen from military headquarters, the country's former top general allegedly said in the second of two illegal recordings carrying shocking revelations.
The comments on the latest recording about the Sledgehammer case, which has caused ongoing legal prosecutions against top military personnel over the last two years, were allegedly made by former Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner, who stepped down in late July in protest of such arrests.
"We found out about the claims in the Sledgehammer case after the indictment was released," the man believed to be Koşaner said on the recording, referring to claims that the army was planning a coup.
Koşaner had made no statement as of late Thursday on the recordings, the first of which allegedly taped him revealing weaknesses of the army and a chain of deficiencies in the fight against terror. The second recording is focused more on the Sledgehammer case, the debate over compulsory military service and the removal of Article 35 of the law regulating the military's duties and responsibilities, an article commonly seen as constituting the legal grounds for military coups.
On the tape, Koşaner allegedly said anonymous persons, whom he called traitors, had stolen the documents pertaining to the Sledgehammer case.
"What upsets us is that everything was stolen from the 1st Army Command, everything, and these reached unauthorized individuals. This is a scandal. Everything we talked about is in their hands. All of these documents left a military headquarters. How could this happen?" Koşaner said.
"We can't blame anyone but ourselves. We handed over these fantastic materials to the people who are against us. The responsibility belongs to the 1st Army Command," the man believed to be Koşaner added. A journalist, promoting an expanded prosecution effort and the arrests of many senior officers, later handed the mentioned documents to a prosecutor.
The voice heard on the newly leaked recording also talked about Article 35 of the Turkish Armed Forces Internal Service Code, which is seen as empowering the military to stage coups d'état.
The concept of creating a professional army "was not our idea," but a decision of the government, the former top general is believed to have said.
"The military service system concerns us. Everyone is saying something about it. But our approach is that everyone serves an equal amount of time, despite their [level of] education," the supposed Koşaner said. "This is about serving your country. Everyone should serve equally. But, of course, the politicians think differently."
The voice on the recording additionally claimed that "the government is also trying to remove the military judicial system, because they are unable to make commands," saying, for example, that "there are no legal obstacles to promoting the soldiers who are a part of the Sledgehammer case, because everything was done legally."
Kosaner Allegedly Discusses Balyoz Case in Voice Recording
In new voice recording allegedly belonging to former chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner talks of the documents belonging to the Balyoz Sledgehammer plan, saying all the documents were thought to have been destroyed by the military. Instead, they were seen in the indictment prepared by civilian prosecutors.
"What upsets us is that we got all we have in the 1st Army stolen. We were involved in this shame," Kosaner says.
Soldier Wounded in Ergani Terrorist Attack Dies, Two Injured in Hakkari Blast
A soldier, who was previously wounded in a terrorist attack in southeastern Turkey, died on Thursday while two Turkish troops were injured in a blast that took place while a military minibus, with a civilian license plate, was carrying military personnel in the southeastern province of Hakkari on Thursday.
Non-commissioned officer Ahmet Yumak was seriously wounded when a group of terrorists opened fire on security forces in rural area near the village of Degirmendere in Ergani town of southeastern province of Diyarbakir on Tuesday. Yumak died in the hospital on Thursday morning. He was one of the four Turkish troops wounded in that terrorist attack in Ergani.
Four kilometers away from downtown Hakkari, a blast took place, Hakkari Gov. Muammer Turker, stated. The minibus was carrying military personnel from the Hakkari Mountain and Commando Brigade Command.
Turker said that two soldiers were seriously wounded while 13 others were wounded slightly.
The road on which the blast took place has been temporarily closed to vehicle traffic. Security forces searched the area for a possible second explosive.
Ankara Calls on UN to Unfreeze Libya's Assets
The United Nations should take "urgent" action to unfreeze Libyan assets and NATO must continue operations there until the North African country is fully secured, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Thursday.
"We have to find the necessary solutions for the National Transitional Council, or NTC, in Libya to fulfill their financial needs under the legal framework of the UN Security Council. Turkey has given a total of $200 million to the NTC in Libya, and $100 million of this has been paid since late July," Davutoğlu said.
Davutoglu's comments were made during his opening speech at the start of a Libya Contact Group meeting of senior diplomats in Istanbul who met to discuss the next steps for the country.
Senior officials from 29 countries and seven international institutions including NATO and the UN convened in Istanbul on Thursday to seek ways for the international community to cooperate to provide political guidance to Libya's NTC and potentially release frozen funds as the rebels look to strengthen their grip on the reins of power.
"The NTC's military victories against Col. Moammar Gadhafi's forces in Tripoli have brought the Libyan people closer to the noble cause that they have been fighting for: freedom, justice, dignity and democracy. This is a historic turning point, not only for Libya but for the entire region. Because the Libyan example will certainly inspire other peoples and leaders in the region and provide added momentum to the tide of political change and democratic transformation in the Middle East and North Africa," Davutoğlu said.
People at the meeting discussed financial support for the NTC and the Libyan people, the protection of civilians, and NTC's efforts to achieve an inclusive and broad-based democratic transition, and urgent needs for essential services and humanitarian relief.
Davutoğlu called on the international community to assist the NTC in every possible way as soon as they can and to work toward releasing frozen Libyan assets for the NTC's use.
He said the NTC has proven to be a trustworthy and valuable partner for the international community, though he warned about complacency and said the transition to democracy was a lengthy process. "I also hope to see the flag of the NTC raised at the UN General Assembly as the legitimate government of Libya," Davutoğlu said.
He also warned that the NTC should take care to integrate all players in the political process for the future of Libya and incorporate existing structures into the new system.