ISTANBUL (AA) – Mobile phone messages between pro-coup officers appear to reveal they ordered the shooting of people resisting the July 15 coup attempt.
As part of the investigation into the thwarted coup attempt, the Istanbul Prosecutor Office has compiled a series of WhatsApp messages between pro-coup officers, apparently sent on the evening of July 15.
Documents seen by Anadolu Agency appear to show that military officers in Istanbul were told – and ordered – to shoot at crowds resisting the coup. The messages then seem to translate a sense of panic after it becomes apparent that the coup has failed.
In one instance, Lt. Col. Muzaffer Duzenli appears to order his subordinates to open fire as crowds amass.
“Repeat. Transmit. Open fire to disperse crowds,” Duzenli says in one of the WhatsApp messages shown to Anadolu Agency.
It is unclear, from the messages, where exactly the officers are stationed in Istanbul.
In a reply to Duzenil, Col. Muslum Kaya says a group of protestors are trying to approach a disaster coordination center in Istanbul. “Comrades opened fire,” he writes.
In his reply, Col. Uzay Sahin encourages Kaya to shoot at the group. “Do not let them approach. Open fire,” he says.
Maj. Mehmet Karabekir says he has also opened fire on the crowds: “I am opening fire at crowds and waiting. Use this in a restrained fashion. 10-15 people are dead. Do not lose initiative.”
Maj. Muammer Aygar also lets the other officers know that there has been heavy fighting in Kuleli, a district on the Asian side of Istanbul, which hosts a military academy. “Opened fire at the group,” he says.
The latest toll has established that at least 208 people, including members of the security forces and civilians, were martyred in Istanbul and Ankara and nearly 1,500 others wounded as they protested Friday’s attempted coup.
In another exchange, Lt. Col. Ugur Coskun says officers and soldiers have been overrun by a group of protestors at the Istanbul Governorship building.
In a reply, Maj. Karabekir says: “Crush [them]. Burn [them]. No compromise.”
After a flow of messages seem to attest that protestors are attacking pro-coup soldiers, Maj. Murat Yanik says he has received an order from Ankara: “Open fire.”
Maj. Mehmet Murat Celebioglu says: “Sir, we received information that [there are] armed people. If people march towards us, we will open fire first in the air then at them.”
Col. Sahin advises Celebioglu to shoot down leaders of protestors. “Shoot down instigators,” writes Sahin.
After it has become clear that the attempt has been thwarted, the messages seem to show a sense of disarray among the officers.
“Sir, we have been trying to survive. Do as you see fit,” says Maj. Mehmet Murat Celebioglu in an apparent message to someone asking for instructions.
“Surrender or run,” he adds.
In another exchange, Maj. Muhammer Aygar asks one of his peers whether the attempt has been called off. Celebioglu replies: “Called off.”
“Are we leaving?”Aygar asks again. “Yes sir,” replies Murat.
Col. Cemalledin Dogan also asks whether he should run.
Aygar says: “Stay alive. It is your choice. We have not decided. But we left our post. I am closing down the [WhatsApp] group. Delete messages if you like.”
The Turkish government has said the failed military overthrow was organized by followers of U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen, who is accused of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through supporters within Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.
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