Turkish PM assasination suspects acquitted
The Atabeyler case, regarded as “the first operation against the deep state” before the Ergenekon case, has concluded with the acquittal of all nine defendants on charges of “attempting to partly or completely block the government’s duties.”
The nine defendants, including two captains, who were charged with attempting to assassinate Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and stage a coup, were acquitted by Ankara’s 11th Court for Serious Crimes six years after being first detained. The soldiers were taken from duty for the duration of the case.
It was claimed that the Atabeyler gang had been established by high-ranking soldiers from the Special Forces Command, and suspected members were detained in 2006 on charges of conspiring to assassinate Erdoğan.
The defendants Murat Eren, Erkut Taş, Yasin Yaman, Yakup Yayla, Yunis Akkaya, İsmail Binici, Mehmet Karatepe, Cemal Hasan Özdeş and Mustafa Raşit Çavdar were acquitted “on the grounds that elements of the crime of violating the Article No. 316 of the Turkish Penal Court by means of agreeing on the attempt to partly or completely block the Government of the Turkish Republic’s duties did not occur.”
However, Eren was sentenced to a 4-year 2-month imprisonment period, and fined to an amount corresponding to 166 days according to the Turkish Criminal Code, on the charge of “having and transporting explosives without permission.” Other defendants, Taş, Yaman and Akkaya were sentenced to 2-year 6-month imprisonments and fined to an amount corresponding to 4 days for the same offence. Taş and Akkaya were also given a 10-month prison sentence and fined to an amount corresponding to 4 days on the grounds of violating the law on firearms, knives and other devices. The court decided to adjourn the explanation of the verdict related to these penalties.
Another defendant, Yayla, was acquitted because no adequate and credible evidence was found that he had committed the offence of “having and transporting explosives without permission.”
The operation against the claimed Atabeyler gang was conducted in the Eryaman district of Ankara on May 31, 2006, shortly after an armed attack was conducted against the Council of State on May 17. Some nine people were detained including two sergeants, two captains and one retired major. During the searches they were found with a number of sketches and explosives, which it was claimed would be used for serious actions including the assassination of the Prime Minister.