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Turkey’s dramatic coup trial kicks off

By Bulent Korkmaz

Turkey’s coup trial kicks off

Suspects of failed July 15, 2016, coup attempt appeared before Ankara 17th Heavy Penal Court on Monday.

Fethullah Gulen – a Muslim cleric lives in self-exile in the US- listed as the primary defendant on charges of masterminding the coup.

Members of the “Peace at Home Council”, including Akın Öztürk, Mehmet Partigoc, Mehmet Disli and Ali Kalyoncu, who are accused of planning the plot,  listed as other main defendants.  “Peace at Home Council” consists of 38 high ranking military officials and it was going to take over the rule if the attempt had succeeded.

Rests of the suspects accused of their activities in the General Staff Headquarter on the day of coup attempt

Akın Ozturk denied all claims

Akın Ozturk who is accused of being the leader of the plot denied all claims. He said in the courtroom: “I have always been loyal my oath to death. This kind of accusation itself is the heaviest punishment for me. My comrades and my nation should know that I have nothing to do with this heinous coup attempt. I share the sorrows of martyrs’ families. I wish I died and not encountered these claims.”

A heavy perception campaign conducted against me

He said he was victimized by a heavy perception campaign. He continued as:“Even before I was questioned news such as  “Akın Ozturk confessed all” appeared in the media widely. Secret witness’ false testimonials were taken as true and spread through the media.”

I had no direct contact with Brigadier General Partigoc

Ozturk said he and his wife were at their daughter’s house in Akıncı Air Base in July 15 evening and told:“Contrary to the allegations I had no direct contact with Brigadier General Partigoc- Head of the Personnel, Plan and Management Division of the General Staff Headquarter on the coup attempt evening. I was informed by my aide that the General Staff Headquarter was raided. I told the aide to call the Headquarter and learn what is going on. He contacted with Partigoc to get information

Chief of Air Staff asked me to go visit 143th Air Fleet

Ozturk told the judges that Chief of Air Staff Abidin Unal asked him to learn what is going in the Akıncı Base. He continued: “Thereupon I went to the 143rd Air Fleet in the Akıncı Base. I entered the room where Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar was being held. I remember Kubilay Selçuk, Omer Faruk Harmancı, Hakan Evrim and Mehmet Dişli were in the room. Chief of General Staff told me that: “They want to stage a coup. Talk and persuade them to give up”.

Plotters were decisive

Akıncı continued: “In line with Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar’s order I talked to the plotters but they seemed very decisive. I conveyed the situation to Akar. He was very tense but not worried. There were many armed soldiers outside. I never tried to persuade Chief of General Staff to preside the “Peace at Home Council”. You can ask this to Chief of General Staff. It is alleged that I would be the Chief of General Staff if General Hulusi Akar couldn’t be persuaded. Who persuaded me? Was I persuaded?

I was in a ridiculous situation in that evening

I was wearing civil clothes that evening and asked my aide to bring my uniform but roads were closed and they found a uniform that didn’t fit me. I was in a ridiculous situation. Think that would I be in such situation if I were the head of the “Peace at Home Council.?” Akıncı continued.

I have always fought with FETO

Akıncı also expressed that he had always warned his subordinates to fight with FETO and always been against coups. In response to presiding judge’s question, he said he didn’t talk or meet with his son-in-law lieutenant colonel Hakan Karakuş on July 15 evening.

Indictment seeks 2298 times aggravated life sentence for defendants

The indictment seeks 2298 times aggravated life sentence for “Peace at Home Council” members.

Case lists 221 defendants,  200 arrested, 9 without arrest and 12 fugitives.

209 military official defendants consist of a general, 3 lieutenant generals, 4 major generals, 16 brigadier generals and 3 rear admirals, 26 colonels, 27 lieutenant colonels, 37 majors, 21 captains and other low-ranking officials.

12 civil defendants are teachers, civil servants, and tradesman.

Charges in the indictment

Plotters are accused of “attempting to dissolve Turkish Grand National Assembly by using force or threat”, “attempting to dissolve the government by using force or threat”, “ruling and membership to a terrorist organization”, “attempting to assassinate the President”, “killing 250 people” and “attempting to kill 2375 people”.

President Erdoğan listed as plaintiff

President Erdoğan listed as a plaintiff in the case and Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar as a victim.

Crowds chanted for execution

People gathered outside of the court chanted as “We want execution for betrayers” and some threw execution rope towards defendants while they were heading to court.

Families of victims shouted at defendants and their lawyers in the courtroom and some of them removed by the presiding judge to sustain the order.

Accusations

Turkish journalist Nedim Sener, in a column about these statements, accused Akin Ozturk as “a bad liar.” Sener argued that Akin Ozturk was only a puppet and tried to became the leader of a coup that was planned by Gulenists (FETO).

Sener, who was jailed by police and prosecutors who were believed to be Gulenists, stated that despite Ozturk was invited a wedding July 15th, he preferred staying Ankara to be with his grandson even though his son-in-law, also military air force officer, was not at home, overseeing coupist pilots that night.

No live broadcast

Trials are not broadcasted live despite demands.

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