Jailed Turkish journalist Nazlı Ilıcak denies allegations of Gülen links
ISTANBULJailed journalist Nazlı Ilıcak has denied allegations during court hearings on June 19 and 20 in the case into the alleged “media leg” of what prosecutors call the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), believed to be behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
“These accusations are offensive to me,” Ilıcak told the court on June 19. She faces charges of “attempting to remove the constitutional order” and “committing a crime on behalf of an armed terrorist group without being a member of it.”
Ilıcak is the first journalist to defend her case among 17 who are being tried in the same case. She appeared before Istanbul’s Çağlayan courthouse for the first time on June 19 and continued to present her case on June 20 in a second hearing.
“Does my identity suit a coup theoretically? Why would I want Fethullah Gülen [the U.S. based Islamic preacher] to take the helm of Turkey? I owe all of my identity to the secular republic,” Doğan News Agency reported her as telling the judges committee at the 26th Heavy Penal Court.
“I stand by people who I seem as victims. I am not an enemy of [President] Tayyip Erdoğan. I am just an opponent. Is it crime to oppose?” she added, also reading from various columns written by journalists supporting her case.
“I want to read some writings from my colleagues instead of making you listen to witnesses. It is important that you know my identity. You know me maybe from newspapers … But which of my statements provide a basis for a coup? Allegedly my writings laid a plan seminar for a coup against the government. I have been accused of acquitting FETÖ with my writings. I am not acquitting FETÖ,” Ilıcak said.
In a previously prepared indictment into the 17 accused journalists, a prosecutor sought three aggravated life sentences and up to 15 years of prison each for Ilıcak, Ahmet Altan, and Mehmet Altan for “attempting to prevent the Turkish parliament from carrying out its duties or completely abolish it” and “attempting to remove the government of the Turkish Republic or prevent it from carrying out its duties.”
The Altan brothers are expected to make their defenses after Ilıcak.