Prosecutor says local courts have no authority to try generals in Ergenekon case

Prosecutor says local courts have no authority to try generals in Ergenekon case

Prosecutor says local courts have no authority to try generals in Ergenekon case A prosecutor told the Istanbul 4th Heavy Penal Court on June 21 that some 19 senior generals, including former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, could not be tried in local courts regarding the reopened Ergenekon plot case. 

The prosecutor demanded that the files of these former Turkish military commanders should be separated from the Ergenekon case, as they were accused when they were still serving in the army, saying they should instead “be tried in the Supreme Court.” The court agreed to the prosecutor’s demand and accordingly separated the 19 names’ files from the original case. 

Prosecutor Sait Kunt also demanded the acquittal of 255 suspects in the case, after saying that the existence of the alleged Ergenekon organization “was not proven with certain and believable evidences.”

“It is out of question that these crimes were committed, as the executive, member and those abetting a non-existing organization do not exist,” Kunt was quoted as saying.

The court adjourned the case until a second trial on Sept. 7. 

The trial into the Ergenekon coup plot case reopened on June 21 after Turkey’s highest appeals court last year overturned the convictions of 274 people, including senior military officers, tried in the case.

The Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that the local court’s recognition of the “Ergenekon Terror Organization” was not suitable because it was not known when and by whom the “Ergenekon Terror Organization” was established. 

“Its crimes and hierarchic structure was not exposed” and “its leader was not evident,” a senior judge said, while reading out the summary of the 231-page reasoned judgment at the final hearing of the appeal case on April 21, 2016.

The Ergenekon probe dates back to 2007 when a cache of explosives was found at the home of a former military officer, who was tried by state prosecutors to what they claimed was a much bigger conspiracy.     

The case was then filed eight years ago against 274 people, including military officers, politicians and journalists, over an alleged conspiracy to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).   

İlker Başbuğ had been accused of being part of this alleged “deep state” organization.

Almost all judges and prosecutors who took part in the Ergenekon case and a number of police officers involved in the process have faced accusations that they were acting under commands by Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamic scholar.

Zekeriya Öz, the initiator of the Ergenekon case, is currently at large with an arrest warrant for Gülen links.