Turkish ‘e-coup’ military chief Büyükanıt dies at age 79

Turkey's former Chief of General Staff General Yaşar Büyükanıt died early Thursday at the age of 79, state-run Anadolu new agency reported

Büyükanıt, who had been receiving medical treatment for some time, died in Istanbul, four days after his wife passed away. 

Büyükanıt’s term in office between August 2006 and August 2008 coincided with one of the most turbulent times in Turkish politics as the secular military resisted reforms of the Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP), seeing them as attempts to curb its powers. Büyükanıt is known to be the person behind an online intervention in 2007, known as the “e-coup”.

The online statement, which emphasised the erosion of secular values, was seen by many as a move to intervene in a presidential election at the Turkish parliament and to prevent AKP candidate Abdullah Gül from becoming the new president. The intervention prompted the AKP to call early parliamentary elections. The party received 47 percent of the votes at the polls in June 2007. Gül was finally elected president in August the same year.

Independent news site Binaet said Büyükanıt has died with his secrets, referring to a 135-minute meeting he held with then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul in May 2007. Its contents have never been disclosed.