Court set to give Ergenekon trial verdict August 5

Court set to give Ergenekon trial verdict August 5

Court set to give Ergenekon trial verdict August 5

The final verdict in the Ergenekon coup plot trial, held over four years and two months, will be given in August, the court in Istanbul's Silivri district has announced.

The final verdict in the Ergenekon trial will be given on Aug. 5, the court has announced, as the defendants gave their final statements on June 21 after the final round of testimony.

The head of the panel of judges, Hasan Hüseyin Özese, said a notice requesting all defense attorneys attend the verdict would also be issued.

Journalist Mustafa Balbay, imprisoned as part of the Ergenekon coup plot case since March 2009, criticized the court's procedures in his final statement. "I see the indictment and the trial as an attack on the founding principles of Turkey. The panel of judges should decide where they stand in this attack. You have started to take the final statements at a date that you set for snatching justice from the people," he said, according to daily Hürriyet's report.

One of the most high-ranking officials tried in the case, retired Gen. Hurşit Tolon, reiterated that he did not accept the accusations. "Your conscience will give the fairest decision. I leave you alone with your conscience," Tolon said.

Former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ could not give his statement as he was not present at the hearing. His lawyer demanded nevertheless that Başbuğ be brought from jail. Başbuğ was arrested as part of the ongoing Internet memorandum case, which refers to an alleged document issued by the General Staff to set up 42 Internet sites to distribute propaganda against the government. The case was then merged with the ongoing Ergenekon coup plot case.

In total, 576 hearings have been held over four years and two months, more than 39,000 pages of court documents have been recorded and nearly 7,100 interim judgments have been given by the court board.

The Ergenekon case started in June 2007 with the discovery of 27 hand grenades in a shanty house belonging to a retired noncommissioned officer.

The finding has led to scores of arrests and put nearly 200 journalists, writers, military personnel, gang leaders, scholars, businessmen and politicians in detention in what has become a terror investigation to stop an alleged ultranationalist, shadowy gang known as Ergenekon.

In the later stages of the investigation, those in custody were accused of planning to topple the government by staging a coup, initially by spreading chaos and mayhem.