Top court prosecutor calls for overturning acquittal of 7 Balyoz suspects

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Retired Gen. Çetin Doğan

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals, which has released its opinion on former military members who stood trial for allegedly plotting to topple the Turkish government, has called for the overturning of the acquittal of seven former military officers in the trial.

The trial involved Sledgehammer, or Balyoz, an alleged military coup plot against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) drafted in 2003. The military is claimed to have planned drastic measures to foment unrest in the country in order to remove the AKP from power.

The İstanbul court that heard the trial of suspects in the Sledgehammer case had sentenced 331 of 365 suspects to prison on Sept. 21, 2012, while 34 were acquitted. Three retired generals were sentenced to life in prison on charges of “attempting to overthrow the government by force,” but the terms were later reduced to 20 years because of the “incomplete attempt at staging a coup,” the court said.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court handed down a ruling in June 2014 stating that the rights of a majority of the convicted suspects in the Sledgehammer coup plot case were violated concerning “digital data and the defendants’ testimonies.” All 236 Balyoz suspects and convicts, including high-ranking generals, were released directly after the top court’s decision, and they were subsequently acquitted of all charges.

But the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals has called for the overturning of the acquittal of seven former Sledgehammer suspects including retired Gen. Çetin Doğan, who was the prime suspect in the trial.

The 16th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals will make the final decision regarding the seven people.

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