Former Army chief faces life in prison

Former Army chief faces life in prison

Former Army chief faces life in prison

The indictment against Başbuğ asks for lifetime sentence on accusations of ‘attempting to overthrow the government’ and ‘leading an armed terrorist organization. DHA photo

Prosecutors yesterday demanded lifetime imprisonment for former Chief of Staff İlker Başbuğ, who is currently under arrest.

The indictment against the retired general asks for lifetime sentence on accusations of “attempting to overthrow or hamper the government of the Turkish Republic through the use of force and violence” and “leading an armed terrorist organization.”

The indictment was sent to the 13th Court of Serious Crimes in Istanbul, which now has two weeks to either accept or reject the indictment.

Başbuğ is a suspect in the Internet Memorandum case, which refers to an alleged document by the General Staff about setting up 42 Internet sites to distribute propaganda against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The former chief of staff allegedly signed the document which ordered the establishment of the websites.

Meanwhile, a special-authority prosecutor has launched an investigation into the military’s so-called “e-memorandum” of 2007 and is expected to question then-chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt and his aides, daily Hürriyet reported.

The “e-memorandum,” posted on the military’s website around midnight on April 27, 2007, was the first episode in a chain of events that plunged Turkey into political turmoil and forced early elections.

In the statement, the army threatened to step in to protect Turkey’s secular system, hours after Parliament held an inconclusive, first-round vote to elect a new president, with the Islamist-rooted Abdullah Gül standing as the sole candidate.

Several days later, the Constitutional Court ruled that Parliament needed a super-majority quorum of 367 lawmakers to vote for a president. Parliament failed to reach the quorum in subsequent sessions as opposition deputies shunned the vote, effectively blocking the election.

The AKP responded by calling early elections, which it won comfortably. The new Parliament elected Gül in August that year.