Ret Adm Özden Örnek
Yesterday's verdict in the "Balyoz" (Sledgehammer) coup plot case "struck the final nail in the Turkish Armed Forces' coffin," according to Tolga Örnek, the son of retired Adm. Özden Örnek, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the court.
Speaking during a live broadcast on CNNTürk yesterday, Örnek said the suspects and their families expected a prison sentence from the court "because the entire process aimed at doing so" but did not expect such a "ruthless" punishment from the judges.
"Today is the day that the Turkish Armed Forces is finished, as far as I am concerned," Örnek said. "They have tried for so long to finish the Armed Forces, and today they struck the final nail on its coffin."
Arguing that the court acted impartially and justly throughout the trial would be "an insult to the defendants' levels of intelligence," an emotional Örnek told CNNTürk anchor Şirin Payzın over the phone, adding that suggestions that the verdict would prevent any further coup attempts were "idiotic."
"Is imprisoning innocent people the way to prevent coups in this country?" Örnek asked bitterly.
Örnek also expressed his sorrow that former army chiefs Gen. Hilmi Özkök and Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt refused to come to court to testify. "Their testimonies could have changed the outcome of the case. The court refused to call them in despite the fact that all of the suspects wanted to call them in as witnesses. Still, they could have joined the case as witnesses by their own will but did not. I am ashamed to have called them 'uncle' in the past," Örnek said.
Örnek said they would go the Supreme Court of Appeals and that the legal proceedings had not ended yet.