Evidence in Turkey’s landmark coup case was fake, court says in detailed ruling

Evidence in Turkey’s landmark coup case was fake, court says in detailed ruling

Evidence in Turkey’s landmark coup case was fake, court says in detailed ruling A Turkish court has stated in its detail ruling for the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) coup plot case that all the main evidence was fake.

The Anatolian 4th High Criminal Court had acquitted all 236 suspects on March 31, after the prosecutor argued that digital data in the files submitted as evidence in the case was “fake” and did not constitute evidence.

In its detailed ruling issued on May 6, the court described how the incriminating data in CDs, hard disks and flash drives could have been digitally faked and even physically planted. 

“It is determined with certainty that CDs No. 11 and 17 were created as fakes. Strong suspicion has also risen about the authenticity of all the other digital evidence that laid the ground for the conviction of the suspects,” the detailed ruling stated.

Speaking to private broadcaster NTV, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said the court’s ruling showed that the case had “come to an end.” 

“If evidence was fake and fabricated, there is no other ruling that the court can issue,” Arınç said.

The retrial of the Balyoz case began on Nov. 3, 2014, after the Constitutional Court ruled in June 2014 unanimously that the convicted suspects’ rights were violated concerning “digital data and the defendants’ testimonies.”

Former generals Çetin Doğan, Özden Örnek, Halil İbrahim Fırtına, Dursun Çiçek, Bilgin Balanlı, Ergin Saygun, Nejat Bek and Süha Tanyeri, along with Engin Alan, who is now a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy, are among the 236 suspects.

A Dec. 15, 2014, expert report revealed that key pieces of evidence in the case were fabricated, including the notes on two CDs which the report said were written by a machine, not handwritten by Tanyeri as previously alleged. Another expert report dated Feb. 17 revealed that more pieces of evidence in the case were fabricated.

All Balyoz suspects and convicts, including high-ranking generals, were released in June 2014 after the Constitutional Court ruling. 

Balyoz was an alleged military coup plot targeting the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) drafted in 2003. The military is alleged to have planned drastic measures to foment unrest in the country in order to remove the AKP from power. The measures included bombing two major mosques in Istanbul, an assault on a military museum by people disguised as religious extremists and the raising of tension with Greece through an attack on a Turkish plane that was to be blamed on the Aegean neighbor.

An Istanbul court sentenced 331 of the 365 suspects to prison terms on Sept. 21, 2012, while 34 suspects were acquitted. Three retired generals were sentenced to life in prison on charges of “attempting to overthrow the government by force,” but the terms were later reduced to 20 years because of the “incomplete attempt at staging a coup,” the court said.