Three ex-convicts of former coup case helped avert July 15 coup attempt, reports say
ANKARAFive soldiers, including two colonels and a brigadier general who had been convicted and imprisoned as part of the infamous Sledgehammer coup case, carried out a counter raid at the Gendarmerie General Commandership in Ankara on the night of the July 15 failed coup attempt, clashing with pro-coup soldiers to avert the fall of the commandership, daily Posta reported on July 26.
Gendarmerie General Commandership Personnel Office Staff Col. Aziz Yılmaz and two other ex-convicts, Brig. Gen. Ahmet Hacıoğlu and Staff Col. Ali Demir, along with two other colonels were involved in clashes with some 18 soldiers led by pro-coup Staff Lt. Col. Süleyman Karaca at the gendarmerie commandership until further support arrived.
The individual raid by the five was initiated when Yılmaz called Hacıoğlu and Demir, all living in the same military lodge, after he learned that Gendarmerie General Commander Gen. Galip Mendi had been taken hostage by pro-coup soldiers who were aiming to capture the commandership post and make it the coup’s command headquarters.
The trio, joined by Col. Nurettin Alkan and Col. Güven Şağban, headed to the commandership with their service pistols and dressed in civilian clothing to counter the group led by Karaca.
Posta reported that Yilmaz, Hacıoğlu and Demir were all ex-convicts in the Sledgehammer coup case and had been sentenced to 16 years, serving three years in jail before being acquitted in 2015.
Sledgehammer, widely known as Balyoz in Turkish, was an alleged military coup plot targeting the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and was allegedly drafted in 2003. The case’s indictment alleged that factions within the military had planned drastic actions to foment unrest in the country in order to remove the AKP from power.
All 236 suspects in the Sledgehammer coup plot case were acquitted on March 31, 2015, after the case’s prosecutor argued that digital data in the files submitted as evidence in the case was “fake” and did not constitute evidence.