Man who saved Erdoğan on night of coup arrested as terror suspect

A police officer who helped save Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s life on the night of the coup as part of a three-person helicopter crew has been arrested on suspicion of being a member of the group accused of carrying out the coup, Hürriyet newspaper said.

Tayyib Sina Doğan was fired from the force on Nov. 22, 2016 over accusations that he had downloaded a mobile application called ByLock that has been associated with the Gülen group, and was sent to Sincan Prison in Ankara over the same allegations on Nov. 20, 2017.

“If I were a terror organisation member, I would not have allowed the helicopter the president boarded to take off,” he told Hürriyet.

“I had the helicopter key. I knew the equipment. I was the first person to see the coup plotters’ helicopter before we took off and I informed the pilot.”

Doğan’s helicopter took Erdoğan from the seaside town of Marmaris, where he was being hunted by putschist soldiers, to nearby Dalaman Airport where his private plane was waiting.

He told the Ankara organised crime branch that he had not had an account at a Gülenist bank, had not gone to a Gülenist school, had not subscribed to a Gülenist newspaper and, despite accusations, had not had the ByLock application on his phone.

“I did not download the programme,” he said. “I think that other programmes may have sent me (to the IP address associated with the programme).”

Other mobile applications have been shown to have shared the same IP address, leading to the mistaken arrests of people who had downloaded music applications or a German-Turkish dictionary.