Balyoz case to be relocated

Balyoz case to be relocated

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Balyoz case to be relocated

Retired Gen. Çetin Doğan is one of the suspects in the ongoing Balyoz case. DHA photo

An Istanbul court has decided to send the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) coup plot probe file to the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to solicit its opinion on a possible relocation of the trial following a request by the prosecutor in the case. 

Hüseyin Kaplan, the leading prosecutor in the trial, demanded June 15 that the trial be transferred to another court from Istanbul’s 10th Criminal Court based on Article 19 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CMK), which states that the court will transfer the case to another equal court of law in the event that the authorized judge or the court cannot proceed with its duties for juridical or factual reasons. 

The case cannot be continued because lawyers of the suspects refused to participate in the sessions on the basis of irregularities in the trial. On May 25, Istanbul’s Silivri district’s chief prosecutor launched an investigation into 11 managers of the Istanbul Bar Association, including Ümit Kocasakal, the head of the organization, on charges of “attempting to influence a judicial authority.” 

The move came in response to the association’s failure to provide a lawyer for the defendants in the ongoing case even though the court requested them to do so three times, according to reports.

Kocasakal and the other 10 managers entered the courtroom during a hearing in the Sledgehammer case on April 6 without the court delegation’s permission in order to present their support for lawyers representing the defendants in the case who were protesting the trial. Kocasakal issued a statement in the courtroom, calling on the court delegation to put a halt to its alleged “violation of the right to a fair trial, its behavior that contradicts the principle of the equality of arms, and its practices that disgrace the legal profession.”

The lawyers of the case also filed a complaint on April 16 with the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) against the court delegation heading the case, claiming their right to defense and a fair trial had been violated. 

Sledgehammer is an alleged military coup plot against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said to have been set up in 2003. According to allegations, the military planned drastic measures to foment unrest in the country in order to remove the 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 Aegean neighbor.

Several former high-ranking officials, including retired Gen. Çetin Doğan, are behind bars as the suspected masterminds behind the plot.