Four FETÖ suspects claimed to have fled courthouse in Ankara
The Ankara Governor’s Office denied reports that four suspected members of what the authorities call the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) escaped from the courthouse in Ankara while their trial was taking place on April 6.
The case was ongoing into 307 FETÖ suspects being tried in relation to actions at the Military Academy in Ankara during the night of Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt, which left over 250 people killed.
Following reading of the prosecutor’s indictment the trial took a break ahead of the announcement of the court’s decision to arrest 19 suspects.
However, four suspects – identified as Serkan Hasdemir, Songül Hasdemir, Mustafa Kayabaşı and Zekeriya Şentürk – reportedly managed to escape the courthouse while awaiting the court’s interim ruling.
The Ankara Governor’s Office released a statement denying reports of the escape.
“Some media outlets have reported that the four FETÖ suspects escaped from the courthouse. But it has been detected that there was no jailbreak or fugitive situation. It is also understood that an arrest warrant was issued on April 5 for the 15 defendants who were not arrested or detained at the time of the hearing. Work is underway to arrest the 15 fugitive suspects,” it stated.
The trial has been postponed to April 9.
12 suspects convicted over FETÖ links
Meanwhile, thirteen people, including a former deputy governor of the southern Antalya province, were convicted of being members of FETÖ and given various jail terms across Turkey on April 6.
In seven different cases in the capital Ankara in connection with a case into questions leaked ahead of the 2010 public personnel selection exam, four convicts were given six years and three months in prison for “being FETÖ members,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
In a case in Antalya, former Antalya Deputy Governor Bilal Çelik was handed down seven years and six months jail term for “being a member of an armed terrorist organization.”
Arrest warrants for lawyers, former TRT staff
Turkish prosecutors on April 6 issued arrest warrants for 58 people for their alleged links to FETÖ, Anadolu Agency reported, citing security sources.
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutors’ Office issued arrest warrants for 38 people as part of a probe into the network and its suspected infiltration of the judiciary, according to a security source.
Police launched a nationwide operation in order to apprehend the suspects, including 13 lawyers, who are accused of being linked to the structure, the source said on the condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
Meanwhile, the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 20 former employees of state-run broadcaster TRT on the same charges.
The Gülen network, led by U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen, is widely believed to have been behind Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt.