A turning point for Turkey: July 15

A turning point for Turkey: July 15

Oya Armutçu - ANKARA
A turning point for Turkey: July 15

A gruelling yet resilient night for recent Turkish history, on July 15, 2016, more than 250 persons were killed and more than 2,000 others were injured while resisting coup soldiers who took to the streets in tanks and with guns.

Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge was shut down by soldiers at around 10 p.m., the parliament was under rocket attack, and the putchists had planned an assasination against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was at the time in the Aegean province of Marmaris.

Jets flew by buildings in Istanbul and Ankara, and the state broadcaster TRT was taken hostage.

Thousands of citizens across the country went out on the streets in a bid to stop the coup from materializing as officials took turns on various television broadcasters until early in the morning on July 16, reassuring the population that they remained on duty.

Ankara has since blamed U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen and his Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) for attempting to overthrow the government.

On the night of the coup, the prosecutors’ offices had already begun working. By the next morning, hundreds of coup attempt probes were already launched. 

The Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) convened in an emergency meeting on July 16, 2016, and removed the degrees of five members of the council over early FETÖ charges. There was already a detention warrant out by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office on those names before the removal.

The degrees of Mahmut Şen and Mustafa Kemal Özçelik from the HSYK Second Chamber were removed in that gathering. Three members’ degrees from the Third Chamber were also removed. Among those who had a detaining order on their names was İbrahim Okur, former deputy of HSYK --later declared the “Supreme Council of Judges (HSK) following the constitutional referendum held on April 16, 2017 that gave way for the installation of an executive presidential system that is now in place.

Just on that day, 2,745 judges and prosecutors were dismissed upon an order from the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office over charges of “being members of an armed terror organization,” in other words, FETÖ.

A state of emergency was declared on July 20, 2016. Until this day, the emergency rule has remain uninterrupted --renewed seven times with the latest periof officially due to end on July 19.

Over 100,000 probes

Over a 100,000 probes on FETÖ were launched until July 10, 2018, Justice Ministry data showed. Some 48,390 cases  were launched.

The number of pepole arrested over FETÖ charges have reached 20,008. The number of people charged with FETÖ links have reached 13,362. 

Here is a breakdown of those who stand convicted over FETÖ charges in terms in terms of their professions:

* 705 judges and prosecutors

* 78 members of the Supreme Court

* 26 members of the Council of State

* Two members of the Constitutional Court

* 51 local authorities

* Some 6,954 soldiers

* Some 5,139 law enforcement officials

* Some 116 staff members of the General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses

* 6,587 teachers

* 317 lawyers

* 398 doctors


661 aggravated life sentences

As of July 10 and across Turkey, there were 289 cases on the coup. Some 188 of these cases have been finalized and 101 are continuing.

According to the rulings in those 188 cases, 661 suspects were given aggravated life sentences. 

In the same 188 cases, 888 of the suspects were given life sentences. Some 718 of the suspects were given sentences varying from one year and two months to up to 20 years.

“I think these cases will leave the Turkish judicial agenda and be finalized by the end of 2018,” Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül had said when asked for a deadline, or a date.

With the latest state of emergency decree, some 18,632 public servants were dismissed from their jobs over alleged FETÖ links.

Some 9,000 law enforcement workers and some 6,023 personnel of the Turkish Armed Forces were removed due to the same terror-linked charges.

Overall, the number of public servants, including high-ranking soldiers, bureaucrats, governors and district governors has come up to 125,806 by way of 34 state of emergency decrees.    

The launching of the State of Emergency Commission has paved way for a legal contradiction process against the dismissals and removals of public servants, including masses of academics, ministry personnel and soldiers. The commission has begun ordering rulings starting Dec. 22, 2017.

It prioritized FETÖ-related cases that were given abatement and non-prosecution verdicts, and speeded up its efforts.

The commission has dissected, recorded and archived around 400,000 documents that included staff files, lawsuits and former inquiries. With the emergency decrees, 111,895 injunctions of which 107,175 were public servant dismissals were granted. Nearly 109,000 inquiries were made at the commission by the end of June, 2018. 

The commission has given rulings on 21,500 of the inquiries as some 87,405 more cases await for the final word. 

As nearly 2,000 preliminary rulings were given at the commission, 1,300 cases were accepted, and some 18,200 were rejected.

July 15 coup attempt, anniversary,