An Ankara court has released all six suspects who were arrested pending trial in the 2002 murder case of Turkish academic Necip Hablemitoğlu, the IHA news agency reported.
Hablemitoğlu, an academic in the history department at Ankara University, was murdered outside his home in Ankara on Jan. 18, 2002.
The Ankara 28th High Criminal Court on Friday released all six suspects due to the possibility of a change in the evidence in their favor.
Among those who attended Friday’s hearing were suspects under arrest and former soldiers Levent Göktaş, Fikret Emek, Ahmet Tarkan Mumcuoğlu and Gökhan Nuri Bozkır; former intelligence officer Enver Altaylı; and Aydın Köstem, a Turkish arms smuggler who had long worked with the Turkish military and intelligence agency, as well as Mehmet Narin, a defendant who was previously released.
Hablemitoğlu’s wife Şengül Hablemitoğlu and their daughters were also present in the courtroom.
A total of 10 people are standing trial in the Hablemitoğlu murder case, including one of three fugitives, Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, a resident of the US whose views have inspired the Gülen movement.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government designates the movement as a terrorist organization and accuses Gülen of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.
Hablemitoğlu was known for his research and books on the Gülen movement.
The movement has time and again been framed in conspiracy theories about Hablemitoğlu’s murder; yet after the 2016 coup attempt, these theories turned into an indictment that accuses the group of the murder.
The AKP government launched a war against the Gülen movement after the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013 that implicated then-prime minister and current president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s family members and inner circle. Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy, the AKP government labeled the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. They intensified the crackdown on the movement following the attempted coup.