Journalists face aggravated life sentences in FETÖ media case
An Istanbul prosecutor has sought aggravated life sentences for each of the six suspects in the case probing the “media wing” of the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have been behind Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt.
Journalists Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak, and three other suspects currently under arrest face aggravated jail terms for “violating the constitution” and “having prior knowledge of the coup.”
The prosecutor also sought jail sentences for other suspects not currently under arrest, including Tibet Murad Sanlıman, over “aiding an organization without being a member of it.”
The court later ruled for six suspects in the case to remain in prison, while also adjourning the case until Feb. 12.
Ilıcak, Yakup Şimşek and Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül attended the hearing at the Istanbul 26th Heavy Penal Court, while the Altan brothers participated in the proceedings via a voice and video communications system (SEGBİS).
The remaining two suspects, Sanlıman and Fevzi Yazıcı, were absent from the hearing.
After the prosecutor revealed what sentences were being sought for the suspects, the court asked whether the journalists had anything to say.
“I see FETÖ as a terrorist organization. I didn’t see it that way before July 15 [coup attempt]. It secretly infiltrates the veins aiming to seize the state. This is very dangerous,” Ilıcak told the court as part of her defense.
“I’ve always opposed coups. Yes, I said anyone involved in corruption must be held accountable. But all the newspapers were reporting on corruption. Does contributing to the struggle against corruption mean serving FETÖ? I wrote those words because I’m an honest journalist. I was not calling for the downfall of the government,” she said, adding that she voted for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“I didn’t want corruption to be covered up,” she also said.
Describing FETÖ as a sui generis organization, Ilıcak said she didn’t know FETÖ wanted to seize the state.
“The aim of the [FETÖ] organization is to seize the state and form a theocratic state. Do you think I would want such a state? What contribution could I make to a FETÖ-seized state? These questions shouldn’t be asked to me but to state officials who allowed such possibilities to occur,” she added.
The case into the aforementioned seven suspects was separated from her case, whose indictment was prepared by prosecutor Can Tuncay.
Istanbul 26th Heavy Penal Court decided to separate the case during the hearing on Sept. 19 after taking into account an inability to apprehend fugitive suspects Ekrem Dumanlı, Osman Özsoy, Emre Uslu, Tuncay Opçin, Abdulkerim Balcı, Bülent Keneş, Faruk Kardıç, Mehmet Kamış, Şemsettin Efe and Ali Çolak.