Deputy PM urges courts to conclude coup plot trials
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Deputy PM Bülent Arınç says the courts hearing coup plot cases should speed up. AA photoConcluding long-lasting cases like Ergenekon and Balyoz as soon as possible requires more urgency than amending Article 250 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which regulates courts with special authority, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said yesterday.
“These cases should be ended as soon as possible so that those who will be acquitted are released [from prison] and those who will be convicted are able to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeals,” Arınç said. This would be the only way to solve the ongoing lengthy prosecution periods, he said.
Ergenekon and Balyoz are two major cases in which hundreds of high-ranking military personnel and civilians are being tried on charges of plotting against the government in 2003 and 2004. Ergenekon trials have been taking place since 2008 and Balyoz since 2010 without any convictions made.
Both cases are being carried out by prosecutors with special authority, which drew serious criticisms from opposition parties. The prosecutors’ attempt to prosecute current intelligence chief Hakan Fidan despite the government’s reaction pushed the ruling party to take measures to curb the authority of these courts.
Arınç said the government had already submitted a draft law amending Article 250 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, but urgency should be given to concluding cases in which a number of prominent active and retired military personnel, lawmakers and academics are being prosecuted.
“My first demand is the conclusion of these cases, which have been closely followed by the public. Secondly, I know that lengthy prosecution periods caused serious damage to the public’s conscience. Courts should often review the length of imprisonment and give positive decisions,” he said.