One of coup’s leaders former military attaché to Israel
More than 2,800 military personnel that were part of the attempted coup d’état in Turkey on Friday night were arrested, including senior officers. The Turkish media have indicated two of them as having orchestrated the attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime: Lt. Gen. Metin İyidil, commander of combat and support training in the land forces, and Gen. Akın Öztürk, the former commander of the Turkish Air Force (TuAF) and Turkey’s military attaché to Israel from 1996 to 1998.
The 64-year-old Öztürk resigned from the TuAF in August of last year, but he continued on as a member of the Supreme Military Council, which is responsible for military appointments, inter alia. While he may be considered an enemy of the state following the attempted coup, but beforehand, he was one of its most decorated heroes with NATO and Turkish Armed Forces medals.
In 1973, Öztürk completed his studies at the Turkish Air Force Academy, and he served as a combat pilot. He climbed the military ladder, with some of his positions being the commander for the 141st Squadron, projects officer and training department commander, Turkey’s military attaché to Israel, operational commander on a central TuAF base, and eventually heading the entire TuAF in 2013.
During his more than 40 years of service in the TuAF, Öztürk clocked more than 5,800 flight hours on 30 different kinds of planes, including the T-38, F-104, F-4, F-16, and the T-37.
Turkish authorities have announced that Öztürk and İyidil will be tried for treason.
Earlier on Saturday, Erdoğan condemned those who planned the attempted coup before thousands of supporters: “They have pointed the people’s guns against the people. The president, whom 52 percent of the people brought to power, is in charge. This government brought to power by the people, is in charge. They won’t succeed as long as we stand against them by risking everything.” Earlier, Erdoğan said the government was arresting coup supporters in the military and warned “they will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey.”