Suspects in Hürriyet raid during coup attempt refuse to testify in first hearing
The suspects in the case of the raid on daily Hürriyet, the Hürriyet Daily News, CNN Türk and Kanal D at the Doğan Media Center in the Bağcılar district of Istanbul on the night of last year’s coup attempt refused to testify in the first hearing on July 17, claiming they had not received the indictment.
A total of 17 suspects, including three former captains Erdal Şeker, Süleyman Ahmet Kaya and Mehmet Akif Aslan who had been arrested participated in the first hearing of the case at the 27th High Criminal Court at Istanbul.
Hürriyet Daily News editor-in-chief Murat Yetkin, CNN Türk general manager Erdoğan Aktaş and Kanal D chief news editor Süleyman Sarılar also attended the hearing as complainants.
Yetkin said the raid was the part of a conspiracy against the country and democracy.
“This is not only the work of Captain Süleyman Ahmet Kaya, private Mehmet or Hüseyin. We had faced a wider conspiracy attempted against the country, the regime and democracy. The raid on Hürriyet was a part of that. The case that is being heard here is also a part of it,” Yetkin said, noting that he and colleagues at the building told the coup soldiers several times that the orders they had gotten were not legitimate.
“However, a court-only settlement may not be sufficient in order to avoid experiencing all of it again. I also think a political settlement is definitely needed,” Yetkin said.
After the indictment summon was read aloud, Aslan stated he had not received the indictment and that he would testify at the next hearing. The other defendants also claimed they were not provided the indictment.
The chief judge said he had never encountered such a complaint before, noting there had never been an indictment that had not been sent to the suspects according to their documents. The lawyers of the suspects meanwhile said the warden might not have handed the indictments to the suspects.
The chief judge later gave the hearing a break to decide on the situation.
Following the break, the judge ultimately ordered an inquiry to investigate the suspects’ claims on not receiving indictments.
The hearing later continued as the other 14 suspects testified to the court board.
The Istanbul’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office had demanded three aggravated life sentences for each of the 19 soldiers on charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “obstructing the duties of the Turkish Republic” in addition to jail terms ranging from 7.5 years to 15 years on charges of “being a member of an armed terror organization.”
The indictment stated the coup soldiers entered the parking lot of the Doğan Media Center at 3:00 a.m. on July 16, 2016. “The General Staff has seized power of the state,” they shouted after splitting into two groups and opening fire into the air.
They also threatened personnel at the Doğan Media Center with guns and demanded them to open the doors, the indictment stated. One of the captains also granted permission to another soldier under his command to shoot anyone who moved.