Court hands life sentences to 23 suspects in Turkey’s first coup attempt case rulings
ANKARAAn Ankara court made its ruling on June 15 in the case accusing 27 soldiers of abducting Secretary General of Presidency Fahri Kasırga on the night of Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt, handing down aggravated life sentences to 18 of the defendants and life sentences to five others, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
A previously prepared indictment said soldiers linked to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) took Kasırga hostage after receiving orders from the putshists. Kasırga said in his testimony that his hands were tied and he was blindfolded during the attempt.
The abduction was also referred to by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the night of the coup attempt while he was leaving the southern resort of Marmaris. “They have taken my secretary. What are you going to do with my secretary?” Erdoğan said as the coup attempt was underway.
In the final hearing of the case on June 15, the Ankara 13th High Criminal Court gave 18 of the suspects aggravated life imprisonment as well as 12 years in jail, gave five of the suspects life imprisonment as well as 10 years in jail, and gave the former commander of the presidential guard regiment, Colonel Muhsin Kutsi Barış, 12 years in jail for “constraining someone of their freedom.”
Barış is also being tried in another coup-related case launched by the Ankara 17th High Criminal Court in which a total of 221 suspects are accused of being involved in events at the General Staff Headquarters on the night of the coup attempt.
On June 15, the Ankara 13th High Criminal Court acquitted the two privates involved in the case, while ruling to separate the file of the fugitive defendant, former brigadier Ali Kalyoncu, from the case.
On May 22, the prosecutor, Hamza Yokuş, told the court that there was no evidence indicating that the two privates Mehmet Akif Özyılmaz and Aykut Şahin were members of FETÖ, saying that they had “no option to resist the coup attempt.”
The prosecutor’s statements had also said that on the night of the coup, Kasırga was forced to embark in an ambulance and then taken to the Akıncı airbase in Ankara by coup attempting soldiers. Indicating that Kasırga was left in a locked room the day after the coup attempt, the prosecutor said the secretary general of presidency was previously chosen as a target just like other commanders abducted.
A report penned by a parliamentary commission tasked with probing the July 2016 coup attempt was released on May 26, concluding that FETÖ was certainly behind the putsch while also noting that there was a general intelligence failure in preventing the deadly attempt.