Istanbul prosecutor demands acquittal of suspects in Turkey’s match-fixing case
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
DHA PhotoAn Istanbul prosecutor has demanded the acquittal of high-profile suspects, including Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım, in Turkey’s match-fixing case.
Prosecutor Abdullah Mirza Coşkun demanded the acquittal of Yıldırım on charges of “founding a criminal organization” and “match-fixing.”
Suspects Tayfur Havutçu, Olgun Peker, Şekip Mosturoğlu, and Korcan Çelikay were present during the trial held at the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court, along with their lawyers.
In his seven-page opinion submitted to the court, Prosecutor Coşkun demanded the acquittal of Yıldırım on charges of “founding a terrorist organization” and “match-fixing,” the acquittal of Peker on charges of “founding a criminal organization,” and the acquittal of suspects Abdullah Başak, Ahmet Çelebi and İlhan Yüksel Ekşioğlu on charges of “being a member of a criminal organization” and “match-fixing.” Coşkun also demanded the acquittal of other suspects in the case on similar charges.
However, he demanded prison terms of up to seven years for suspects Selim Kımıl and Olgun Peker on charges of “threatening” and “using and producing false documents.”
The judge has postponed the case until Oct. 9.
On June 23, the court ordered a retrial of several convicted suspects, including Yıldırım, in the July 2011 match-fixing case, which shook Turkey’s football scene.
Yıldırım was first sentenced to jail in 2012 and fined 1.3 million Turkish Liras ($560,000) for forming a criminal gang and match-fixing during the 2010-2011 season. He served around one year behind bars before being freed pending a retrial.
Fenerbahçe was banned for two seasons from European competition by UEFA due to the charges.
The court agreed to retry the suspects on the charges of being a member of a criminal organization, but it rejected Yıldırım’s demand for a retrial on the grounds that the investigation was part of a “plot” against the convicted suspects.
The convicted suspects were able to file appeal after the Specially Authorized Courts, which oversaw the match-fixing case among others, were abolished in March 2013.
Prosecutor Coşkun pleaded for a retrial, arguing that Yıldırım had been mistakenly accused regarding some of the charges, while other charges were exaggerated compared to the information in the investigation files.
The match-fixing probe was originally launched by Zekeriya Öz, one of the prosecutors involved in the December 2013 graft investigation targeting key cabinet members. Öz has since been purged as part of government attempts to target sympathizers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
Yıldırım has repeatedly claimed that the match-fixing case was a politically motivated plot hatched by the Gülen movement.