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Court orders continuation of arrest for all journalists in Gülen case

A Turkish court ordered on Sept. 19 the continuation of arrest for all journalists, including Nazlı Ilıcak, Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan, after a second hearing in the case into the alleged “media leg” of what prosecutors call the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). The trial was postponed to Nov. 13.

Jailed journalist Ilıcak admitted at the trial on Sept. 19 that she had understood the “real face” of the Gülen network too late, adding that the organization was “much more dangerous than a terror organization.”

The second hearing in the case took place at the 26th Heavy Penal Court at Istanbul’s Çağlayan courthouse, with a large number of attendees including representatives of the human rights committee of the Bar of Wales, prominent Turkish journalists, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Altan Tan.

Including Ilıcak, 17 suspects are standing trial.

Ilıcak was the first suspect to defend her case on Sept. 19, demanding her release and saying she had “never acted with the intention of committing a crime.”

“FETÖ’s borders have to be drawn with the law. Do not forget the structure called FETÖ was seen as a religious community at one point … I have never become a part of this organization. There is no possibility of me fleeing [the country]. There is no evidence to be spoiled. I have never worked for their organizations. I have never become a member of their foundations. I have become tired of Turkey’s situation and of being a burden on my children. I demand my release,” she told the court.

Next to defend his case was Ahmet Altan, who also denied the allegations against him.

“Show just one concrete piece of evidence regarding these bizarre allegations on us and I will not defend [myself] ever again. Even if I am sentenced to the harshest penalty, I will not appeal. I say this very clearly. Show me one piece of evidence and I will give up on my right to appeal. I will consent to spend the rest of my life quietly in prison, in a cell,” he told the court.

After Ahmet Altan, his brother Mehmet gave his defense, asking why the prosecutor had still not provided the related evidence that they allegedly “knew about the coup attempt” before it went ahead.

“He cannot [provide evidence] because there is no such evidence in question. Claims that we were talking about the coup [before it occurred] is a big lie, it is a perception operation [against us],” he said.

In an indictment prepared by the Istanbul Terror and Organized Crime Investigation Bureau into the 17 suspects in April, a prosecutor sought three aggravated life sentences and up to 15 years of prison for Ilıcak and the Altan brothers for “attempting to prevent the Turkish parliament from carrying out its duties or completely abolishing it” and “attempting to remove the government of the Turkish Republic or prevent it from carrying out its duties.”

The trio also faces charges of “attempting to remove the constitutional order” and “committing a crime on behalf of an armed terrorist group without being a member of it.”

In addition, the prosecutor sought three aggravated life sentences each and up to 22.5 years in prison for fugitive suspects Ekrem Dumanlı, Tuncay Opçin and Emre Uslu over three of the aforementioned crimes excluding “committing a crime on behalf of an armed terrorist group without being a member.”


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