Key evidence in Turkey’s Balyoz coup case ‘fabricated,’ expert report says

Key evidence in Turkey’s Balyoz coup case ‘fabricated,’ expert report says

ANKARA - Hürriyet
Key evidence in Turkey’s Balyoz coup case ‘fabricated,’ expert report says

Relatives of the Balyoz convicts seen during a demonstration in front of the Turkish General Staff headquarters in Ankara. DAILY NEWS file photo

Experts have determined key evidence in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) trial to be fabricated, signaling a dramatic turn of events after a high court rejected the convicts’ demand for a retrial on Jan. 24.

Turkey’s science watchdog (TÜBİTAK) said in a report Jan. 25 that the date and time of key files on a hard drive found during searches conducted in December 2010 at the Gölcük Navy Command were modified, daily Hürriyet reported. 

Lawyers for the convicts said they would demand a retrial based on new suspicions that the evidence was fabricated as a result of the report, which was sent to court on Jan. 20.

The files in the hard drive were one of the foundations of the coup-plot charges in the Balyoz trial indictments. According to Hürriyet, the court had initially rejected a demand from the lawyers requesting the examination of the evidence known as “hard drive number five.”

However, another court, which is prosecuting the ongoing Poyrazköy coup plot trial in which the same evidence is also being used, accepted the lawyers’ previous request to examine the evidence. After receiving approval from the court, 112 questions were sent to TÜBİTAK, which released its detailed report. 

During the trial, separate reports from Naval and Air Forces experts also indicated that the hard drive was modified, but their assessments were dismissed by the court.

Files transferred from another computer

According Hürriyet, the report’s findings state some of the files on the hard drive were transferred by computers over a year after the date and time of the last modification. The report indicates that the latest modification to the files was made on May 1, 2008, whereas some files were created after the date of July 28, 2009. Those were transferred from computers with an older system date and time, according to the experts.

“We will make a second demand for a retrial with the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court, this time based on this report,” Hüseyin Ersöz, a lawyer for jailed convicts Çetin Doğan and Hakan Büyük, said Jan. 25, referring to the court’s negative verdict a day earlier.

“If our demand is rejected, we will submit the report in question in our individual application files to the Constitutional Court, asking them to examine it on the grounds of a violation of the right to a free trial,” Ersöz said. 

The developments come as the head of the Turkish bars union, Metin Feyzioğlu, has launched an initiative for the retrial of the Balyoz and Ergenekon coup cases after the prime minister’s chief adviser hinted at a “conspiracy” alleging that evidence was fabricated in the trials. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also told reporters after meeting Feyzioğlu that the government was “warm” to the idea.

However, the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court rejected the retrial demand on Jan. 24, saying no legal reasons could be found for a retrial.