Over the weekend Basbug denied charges of trying to overthrow the government, asking how he, in the time command of 700,000 troops, could or would opt to use websites to stage a military coup. Basbug assumed head of the Armed Forces in August 2008, and in February 2009, following news about the websites that appeared in Taraf, an Istanbul prosecutor launched an investigation that has led us to where we are today -- virtually clueless as to exactly what is going on, who is behind it, and why.
According to Basbug, the chief of general staff who preceded him, Yasar Buyukanit, launched many of the websites. Further, Basbug rejected accusations that he setup four new websites as evidenced by the document outlying the plan, and which Col. Dursun Cicek confirmed as authentic this past August. Indeed, according to Basbug, he shut many of the websites down. In comparison to Buyukanit, Basbug was seen as more moderate, and in reality, behaved with greater civility toward AKP than his more hardline predecessors.
One of the questions now is whether the retired general will stand trial in front of the Istanbul court that has arrested him, or whether his case will go before the Constitutional Court.
Will the case raise alarm with American and European officials who have heralded Turkey as a model for secular democracy in the Middle East?