Turkish Army denies having coup documents
Ret Gen Çetin Doğan, the top suspect in the ‘Balyoz’ (Sledgehammer) coup plot case, was sentenced to 20 years in prison last September. DHA photo
Turkey’s General Staff denied yesterday that the military had the original versions of digital documents on coup plans in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) case.
In its reasoned opinion on the sentences, Istanbul’s 10th Court for Serious Crimes said Jan. 7 that the suspects’ defense that the evidence against them had been fabricated was not true because “the General Staff informed the court that it had the originals” of the documents that were found as digital documents on CDs confiscated in raids.
In a written statement published on its official website, the General Staff denied any such information.
“On a request from Istanbul’s Prosecutor’s Office in the investigation stage of the case, General Staff informed the prosecutors on Feb. 22, 2010, that a seminar held at First Army Headquarters had no part or extension titled ‘Balyoz Security Action Plan;’ furthermore, there were no action plans titled ‘Oraj’ or ‘Suga,’” the statement read.
Many active duty and retired soldiers were sentenced last September in the Balyoz case, which was based on leaked documents. According to the claims, the coup plot was planned by a junta led by the 1st Army Commander at the time, Çetin Doğan. The plot was alleged to consist of action plans under the code names Suga and Oraj.
The Balyoz coup plot was represented as part of a planning seminar that was organized between March 5 and 7, 2003. Doğan, who organized and led the seminar, was accused of organizing the coup plan and rehearsing at the gathering.
Doğan, retired Adm. Özden Örnek, who was Navy commander at the time, and retired Turkish Air Force Commander Halil İbrahim Fırtına were each sentenced to 20 years in prison in the case.
The General Staff statement quoted a part of the court’s reasoned opinion, which read “The General Staff informed our court that the originals of the documents confiscated from suspect Hakan Büyük were held at the related units.”
According to allegations, the military planned drastic measures to foment unrest in the country in order to remove the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) from power. These measures included bombing two major mosques in Istanbul, attacking a military museum disguised as religious extremists and raising tensions with Greece by attacking a Turkish plane and blaming the incident on the country’s Aegean neighbor.