Prosecutor’s office concludes main investigation into coup attempt

Prosecutor’s office concludes main investigation into coup attempt

Prosecutor’s office concludes main investigation into coup attempt

This video grab shows soldiers at the entrance to Hürriyet headquarters on the night of the coup attempt.

The main investigation into the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt, widely believed to have been masterminded by the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, has been completed.

The main probe carried out by the Terror and Organized Crime Bureau of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office includes 24 suspects, 15 of whom are under arrest and nine of whom are fugitives. 

Gülen, the head of what prosecutors and the government call the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), is the main suspect in the indictment, with the prosecutor seeking 92 aggravated life sentences and a prison sentence from 56 to 174 years on charges of attempting to abolish the Turkish Parliament, the government and the constitutional order among various other charges.      

Some 89 names who were killed by the coup plotters in Istanbul are included in the indictment as “deceased,” while Deputy Chief of the General Staff Ümit Dündar, Commander of the War Colleges Lt. Gen. Tahir Bekircioğlu, Naval Academy Commander Rear Admiral Mesut Özel, Commander of the Naval War Colleges Rear Admiral Tayyar Ertem and his wife Emel Ertem are listed as complainants. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish Parliament’s Speaker’s Office, the government of the Turkish Republic, the Istanbul provincial directorate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Doğan Group, the Digitürk General Management, and Casper Computers were included in the indictment as parties harmed by the crime. 

In the indictment, Gülen and the suspects forming the “Peace at Home Committee,” a group of coup soldiers, are all listed as responsible for coup activities and all face 92 times aggravated life sentences, as well as up to 174 years in prison sentences. The other 13 suspects face aggravated life sentences ranging between three and 47 years. 

The indictment also states that the FETÖ attempted to settle in the Turkish Armed Forces beginning from 1984 until 2014. After 1987 some 400 officers and noncommissioned officers were dismissed over their links to the Gülenist network but the dismissals stopped in 2013, according to the indictment.

The indictment says the FETÖ’s structuring in the military gained speed via the dismissals of soldiers who were not Gülenists through Ergenekon, Balyoz and military espionage cases, which were all later dropped and a number of judges and prosecutors have been probed due to charges of Gülen links.

Furthermore, the indictment drew attention the sleeping cells of FETÖ inside the military. According to the indictment, some 800 army personnel using ByLock - a smartphone app that came to prominence after it emerged that it was used by Gülenists - were determined. However, around 500 of these army personnel did not participate in the coup attempt and were in waiting as “sleeper cells” to be used during possible further operations, the indictment also said. 

The indictment was sent to the Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court and the court will announce its decision whether to accept to indictment in the coming days.