Istanbul court postpones Çarşı coup case as police take back accusations
Kenan Başaran - ISTANBUL
DHA PhotoAfter police witnesses took back their accusations against the Beşiktaş football fan group Çarşı, an Istanbul court adjourned the April 2 hearing of a case in which 35 members of Çarşı are on trial for organizing a plot against the government during the 2013 Gezi Park protests.
Four police officers, whose testimonies were included in the prosecutor’s indictment, said they had no complaints against the Çarşı group, known for its passionate support for its team and involvement in issues such as environmentalism.
The police officers also did not confirm that a “bomb set-up” was found during a search in the house of a group member, after a plastic bottle and its substance turned out to be illegal drugs belonging to the brother of a suspect.
In court, the police officers said they did not see the Çarşı group during the clashes. A witness police officer said he was wounded during a clash with another group.
Ayhan Güner, a prominent figure of the group, denied that Çarşı wanted to occupy the office of then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, saying it was police officials who had invited him to the station to request his help in convincing the crowd to stay away from the facility.
“The Çarşı group is not a coup-plotter. The Gezi protests are the renaissance and Çarşı is its Michelangelo,” Güner said, in reference to the legendry Italian painter sculptor, architect, poet and engineer.
Unlike the first hearing on Dec. 16, 2014, fans did not attend the trial, due to the mourning at the Çağlayan courthouse, where prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was killed after being taken hostage for eight hours by the members of an outlawed group.
Amnesty International representative Barbara Neppert and foreign lawyers were present at the hearing. The accusations against Çarşı have caused international reactions.
The next hearing is on June 26.