Ergenekon suspect’s minor sentence sparks debate

Ergenekon suspect’s minor sentence sparks debate

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
The verdicts regarding the alleged coup case Ergenekon continue to send ripples across the country as the release of Osman Yıldırım, who was involved in several attacks, including the fatal State of Council shooting, caused a new debate to break forth.

Many expressed disappointment over Yıldırım’s release, as a result of a reduction of his eight-year sentence, which stood in contrast to some of the court’s harsher decisions that included 19 life sentences, one of which was handed down to the former Chief of General Staff İlker Başbuğ.

The initial ruling by an Ankara court sentenced Yıldırım to life in prison, after which Yıldırım had threatened the judges, prompting them to file complaints against him, before the cases involving the attack on the Council of State and on the offices of daily Cumhuriyet were merged with Ergenekon.

Yıldırım was accused of involvement in both of the attacks and of aiding Alparslan Arslan, the man who killed Council of State judge Mustafa Yücel Özbilgin over a headscarf ban in the fatal shooting of 2006, by directing him towards the suppliers of explosives and planning the attacks.

The Silivri court gave Arslan an aggravated life sentence on Aug. 5, while Yıldırım was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison.

The court stated that Yıldırım had offered information regarding the structure of Ergenekon network, which the verdict took to be a terrorist organization, and earned reductions on his sentencing through regulations regarding the suspect’s regret of accusations.

The Aug. 5 verdict trial marked the end of the Ergenekon coup case, which gripped the nation since a manhunt was launched following the discovery 27 hand grenades in an Istanbul house.

Along with İlker Başbuğ, the most senior official tried in the case, other high-profile military and civilian suspects such as retired generals Hurşit Tolon, Veli Küçük and Şener Eruygur as well as journalists Tuncay Özkan and Mustafa Balbay also received long prison sentences.