15-minute defense right for Ergenekon suspects

15-minute defense right for Ergenekon suspects

Suspects and lawyers in the ongoing Ergenekon case have reacted to the 15 minute limit that has been introduced to the case suspects’ defense.

İlkay Sezer, the lawyer of arrested suspect and former Chief of General Staff İlker Başbuğ, said they had prepared defenses responding to all the testimonies of the witnesses, meaning that a 15 minute defense was insufficient.

“A total of 159 witnesses were listened to. As you see, it is not possible to conduct a
defense against all these witnesses in just 15 minutes,”lawyer Sezer said.

During the case’s trial yesterday, the court board, which has listened to a number of secret witnesses during the three years it has been ongoing, only allowed 15 minutes for each suspect to defend themselves.

‘Not enough to make defense’

An arrested suspect in the case, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İzmir deputy and newspaper columnist Mustafa Balbay also underlined that the 15 minute limit was not enough for suspects to make their defense.

“After six months, the court allowed suspects to make their defense for the first time. However, 15 minutes were not enough for suspects to explain their views,” he wrote in his
column in daily Cumhuriyet on Nov. 24.

It is not yet known whether the court board will review the evidence or not.

Meanwhile, the board formerly decided to take the testimony of former National Intelligence Agency (MİT) chief Şenkal Atasagun, although he has still yet to be called to testify.

Ergenekon is an alleged ultranationalist gang accused of plotting to overthrow the government by fomenting chaos in society.