Journalists' trial over alleged Gülen links starts
ISTANBULSome 17 suspects, including jailed journalists Nazlı Ilıcak, Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan, will appear before an Istanbul court on June 19 for the first time in a case into the media leg of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which is widely believed to have perpetrated the July 15, 2016, failed coup.
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 each Ilıcak and the Altan brothers for “attempting to prevent the Turkish parliament from carrying out its duties or completely abolish 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.”
Moreover, 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 of it.”
Dumanlı, Opçin and Uslu are also charged with “managing an armed terrorist organization.”
The indictment, which included several columns by Ahmet Altan, said he wrote the columns “in order to prepare the public for a coup attempt by branding the president of the Turkish Republic as a dictator and saying that he will fall from power in a short period of time.”
Moreover, the indictment also included cell phone records of Altan, which said that he was in contact with the “imams” of the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who are Alaeddin Kaya, Önder Aytaç and Dumanlı.
“Imam,” which traditionally refers to a religious public worker, is a term used by the Gülenist organization to mark local leadership.
The indictment said Ilıcak supported the declaration of martial law in 1978.
“Martial law is in force in 13 provinces. The people who are thirsty for peace call out: Hello soldier,” one of the columns of Ilıcak read, according to the indictment.