Former coup plot prosecutor gets 13 years in prison over Gülen links

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Süleyman Pehlivan, a former prosecutor who took part in the 2003 Sledgehammer (Balyoz) coup plot trial, has been sentenced to 13 years, six months in prison due to alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Pehlivan has been on trial along with other members of the judiciary who were disbarred and arrested following a 2016 failed coup attempt.

He was accused of attending meetings with Gülen followers and using the smart phone application ByLock, which Turkish authorities believe to be a communication tool among members of the movement.

The prosecution also claimed that Pehlivan received pay phone calls, another charge widely used to incriminate alleged members of the movement.

In his defense Pehlivan said all the evidence in the Sledgehammer case had suggested that a coup plot was in the works and that is why they had launched the public prosecution.

Sledgehammer was an alleged military coup plot against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) drafted in 2003.

The military was claimed to have planned drastic measures to foment unrest in the country in order to remove the AKP from power.

The plot included bombing two major mosques in İstanbul, an assault on a military museum by people disguised as religious extremists and the raising of tensions with Greece through the downing of a Turkish fighter jet and blaming the incident on Turkey’s Aegean neighbor.

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