Top court rules rights of former general tried on coup charges were violated

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Retired Gen. Çetin Doğan

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of former retired Gen. Çetin Doğan, who stood trial on coup charges, saying Doğan’s rights had been violated, the Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.

Doğan was among more than 300 officers convicted in 2012 of taking part in an alleged coup plot named Balyoz, or Sledgehammer, which aimed to topple the government of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The 2003 coup plot became public knowledge when the now-closed Taraf daily published its details in a report in 2010.

The Sledgehammer suspects were freed in 2014 when the Constitutional Court said the trial had been flawed.

Doğan petitioned the top court and asked for non-pecuniary damages, claiming that Taraf attacked his and his colleagues’ personal rights through its reports, which he said aimed to humiliate him and other active duty and retired officers in the eyes of the public.

The retired general first filed a lawsuit against Taraf’s editor-in-chief and other staff members who were responsible for the publication of its report on Sledgehammer at an İstanbul court in 2012. The court rejected the case, after which he appealed the local court’s decision at the Supreme Court of Appeals, which upheld the local court’s decision.

Doğan then made an individual application to the Constitutional Court, which ruled that Doğan’s right to honor and prestige had been violated and that he should be paid damages in the amount of TL 8,000.

In its ruling the court said Taraf used language portraying the Sledgehammer coup plot as authentic, leaving no room for doubt, and that some documents, presented as evidence by the daily, were fake.

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

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