Pro-gov’t umbrella NGO vows to ‘stand guard’ over Turkey following admirals’ declaration

An umbrella civil society organisation comprising 300 pro-government NGOs has released a statement blasting a declaration signed by 103 admirals, which condemned discussions of Turkey possibly withdrawing from the Montreaux Convention.

Referring to the signatories of the declaration as  "foolish,’’’ The National Will Platform’’ , in a statement issued on its website, said it would continue to "stand guard’’ over Turkey in response to the document, which has stirred up discussions of military coups in the country.

Established in 2003, the National Will Platform includes numerous religious associations with ties to the government, such as the Menzil, Erenköy, İsmailağa and Nur religious communities, as well as aid foundations, including the Hayrat, İhlas and Semerkand charitable associations.

Saturday’s declaration signed by former navy admirals condemned government discussion on possible withdrawal from a convention, which regulates passage from the Bosporus and Dardenelles straits connecting the Black Sea to the Aegean and Mediterranean, while also criticising the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for steering the armed forces and the country away from secularism, over an active-service rear admiral’s visit to the leader of an extreme religious sect.

Calling the declaration an "anti-democratic initiative,’’ the platform said it was ready to challenge the signatories, who it accused of using  "the rank granted to them by the nation, against the nation.’’

On Monday, the Ankara chief public prosecutor’s office issued arrest warrants for 14 admirals deemed to be behind the preparation and propagation of the declaration on charges of  “conspiracy to commit crimes against the security of the state and the constitutional order.’’

Meanwhile, over 900 associations, 408 foundations, 27 universities, 550 unions have filed criminal cases against the declaration, Fox News Turkey reported on Monday.