ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
In its reasoning for the sentences in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot trial, an Istanbul court says the authencity of documents has been confirmed by experts, despite the outcry from the suspects
The relatives, friends and supporters of the ex-soldiers sentenced in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot trial hold a demonstration in the Aegean city of İzmir to protest the court’s decision. DHA photo
Each piece of digital evidence presented in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup-plot case’s indictment is authentic, the historic coup-plot’s court board stated yesterday, ruling out claims that evidence has been fabricated.
The controversial evidence in question, which contain Word documents said to be burned in a single session in 2003 but consisted of characters and fonts from Microsoft Office’s 2007 Word program were original, according to the court.
“When a Word document burned to a CD in 2003 is used in a computer that operates a 2007 office program that document will be seen as if it was saved in 2007. Experts verified this,” the decision read.
The Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court Board also stated the coup was not realized because former 1st Army Commander retired Gen. Çetin Doğan had undergone a heart surgery operation in May 2003 and retired in August the same year.
However Doğan’s lawyer, Hüseyin Ersöz, said the reasoned decision conflicted with the indictment, in a written statement following the release of the court board’s reasoned decision. “Doğan’s retirement was known in 2002 because there were a number of other senior generals waiting for appointment,” he said.
According to Ersöz, the court board "desperately" sought a solution by attributing the failed coup to Doğan’s surgery.
All the suspects in the case knew of the coup plot and they all undertook missions, the court board’s 1,435-page reasoned decision also read.
The defendants’ lawyers added that the alleged correspondence between the suspects was not compatible with the military codes, but the court board said the communication between the individuals involved in the coup plot would not necessarily need to be compatible with military practices.Heavy sentences
The court had given 20-year prison sentences to Doğan, former Air Force Commander Gen. Halil İbrahim Fırtına and former Navy Commander Adm. Özden Örnek, who were key suspects in the case on Sep 21. Some 325 suspects in total in the Balyoz coup case, all retired or active duty members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) were given at least 16 years of imprisonment.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
also commented on the court board’s decision, again expressing his wish that a final verdict be given as soon as possible.
The court board ruled that an illegal organization within the Turkish military planned drastic measures to foment unrest in the country in order to remove the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) from power. These measures included bombing two major mosques in Istanbul and assaulting a military museum disguised as religious extremists.