[VIDEO] 29 policemen on trial for failing to protect Erdoğan’s house during coup attempt

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Turkish special force soldiers stand guard at the courthouse on December 27, 2016 at Silivri district in İstanbul. Almost 30 Turkish police will go on trial in İstanbul on December 27, 2016 charged with involvement in the July 15 coup bid, the city's first trial of alleged putschists. With indictments prepared against over 1,200 people, and some 41,000 under arrest in total, the trials following the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are set to be the most far-reaching legal process in Turkish history. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

The initial hearing in the first trial concerning a failed coup attempt on July 15 took place on Tuesday as 29 police officers are being tried for refusing to follow orders to protect President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s residence in İstanbul.

Twenty-five of the police officers are currently under arrest.

The indictment prepared by prosecutor Evliya Çalışkan states that the group of police officers failed to resist the “terrorist organization,” unlike ordinary citizens.

Some police officers are said to have the Bylock messaging application on their phones, considered a communication tool among Gülen movement sympathizers and “evidence” of coup plotting in Turkey. The government holds the movement responsible for the botched coup.

However, accusations of Bylock use notwithstanding, the indictment included the WhatsApp messages of the police officers, allegedly proving involvement in the coup.

The presiding judge, Fikret Demir, said the trial, which will be recorded, will last for four days.

Turkey faced a coup attempt on the night of July 15 as a result of which over 41,000 people have been arrested on coup charges. However, only 1,233 people are listed as suspects in various indictments across the country for coup plotting. In a massive purge, over 100,000 people have been dismissed from their jobs including judges, prosecutors, academics, doctors and other public servants.

Meanwhile, unanswered questions over the coup persist as a new photo of Maj. Gen. Mehmet Dişli, one of the alleged leaders of the coup attempt and brother of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Şaban Dişli, has sparked debate over the unequal treatment of putschists.

The pro-Erdoğan Yeni Şafak daily published a photograph of Maj. Gen. Dişli, who appeared in an Ankara court for additional testimony on Friday. In the photo, Dişli was seen without handcuffs and appeared at ease with other people. The Gazeteport news website shared the picture as evidence of a double standard in dealing with putschist generals.

Dişli was actively involved in the coup and was arrested after the attempt failed.

Leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Oct. 28 accused the AKP government of laying the groundwork for the July 15 military coup attempt, saying that the brother of a senior AKP official led the abortive coup.

Speaking to Habertürk TV, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “The groundwork for a coup in Turkey was deliberately laid. Mehmet Dişli, the person who led the [coup attempt], was brought to General Staff headquarters before completing his service in the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] by the political will. … The will that kept Mehmet Dişli at General Staff headquarters is the political will that prepared the groundwork for the coup.”

The parliamentary Coup Commission, which was set up to investigate the events of July 15, on Nov. 24 declined to hear the testimony of the allegedly putschist Dişli due to the “nay” votes of the commission members from the AKP.

Efforts by the opposition party members of the commission to invite the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar to testify were also prevented by the AKP members of the commission.

Despite the fact that President Erdoğan accused Fidan and Akar of failing to inform him and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım about the coup attempt, the plan for which they had learned about six hours in advance, both of them continued to serve in the same positions.

CHP deputy Aykut Erdoğdu, a member of the commission, had hinted that the failed coup on July 15 was a calculated move on the part of President Erdoğan and the AKP government.

Erdoğdu said in an interview with the Birgün daily in October that the AKP was trying to obscure the realities behind the failed coup attempt since the commission was being prevented from doing its job by “hidden hands.”

“They are not clarifying that [July 15] night. MİT head Hakan Fidan’s failure to inform Erdoğan [about the coup attempt], Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar’s captivity and release, prime suspect Adil Öksüz’s release after detention and Erdoğan’s statement that he was informed [about the coup attempt] by his brother-in-law have not been clarified,” he said.

“The strongest and dirtiest hidden hand [to prevent the commission from continuing its investigation] is the ‘palace’ [Erdoğan’s] hand,” Erdoğdu added.

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