Turkish army distances itself from Hurriyet story

Turkey's military on Tuesday moved to clarify a simmering row over a newspaper headline which drew criticism from political leaders, including the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish General Staff released a statement on Tuesday saying the Feb. 25 story in the daily Hurriyet was based on a briefing about claims against the Turkish Armed Forces and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar.

Hurriyet reporter Hande Firat -- known internationally for taking a live FaceTime call from Erdogan on television during the 15 July 2016 coup attempt -- filed the report with the headline "[Military] headquarters disturbed.

For some, the choice of language echoed news reports which preceded coups of previous years and drew criticism.

Some columnists and politicians argued the newspaper's headline recalled previous interventions by the Turkish Armed Forces into politics.

Tuesday also marks the 20th anniversary of Turkey's 1997 so-called 'post-modern' coup.

However, the paper itself said the story was about "how the General Staff evaluated the recent criticism and speculation" over the Turkish army.

It also said its report had been "deliberately and in a graceless way" diverted to another angle.

The story featured answers to questions directed by the newspaper to the General Staff.

"The content of the briefing was carefully and delicately edited and did not include any expression like 'Headquarters disturbed' or 'Disturbance at headquarters/Turkish Armed Forces'," Tuesday's statement from the General Staff said.

The military said its briefing to Hurriyet mainly focused on stressing the "Turkish Armed Forces should not be made an issue of internal politics and should be kept away from personal matters".

"It is wandering off the subject to reflect that there is a problem between Turkish Armed Forces and the government," the statement added.

Meanwhile, Bakirkoy chief public prosecutor's office in Istanbul has launched an investigation into the newspaper report following a complaint from an academic at Istanbul University.

Source: Anadolu Agency