Prosecutors reveal junta behind Turkey’s coup attempt
ANKARAThe joint indictment submitted to an Ankara court on March 3 on the July 2016 coup attempt has identified a 38-member junta named “Peace in the Nation Council” as being among 221 suspected coup plotters led by Fethullah Gülen, head of what the government and the indictment refer to as the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ).
The indictment demands 2,988 life sentences for each of the soldiers, the highest ever sentence sought for suspects in Turkish history.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office completed the investigation into events at the Chief of General Staff headquarters during the July 15 coup attempt, where Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and a number of high-ranking soldiers were held captive by coup plotters and then brought to the Akıncı Air Base in rural Ankara, the main location from which the coup activities were coordinated.
A group of soldiers loyal to Gülen attempted to overthrow the government through a coup on the night of July 15, 2016, in which warplanes bombed parliament and state offices, opening fire on civilians who stood against the coup plotters. Some 248 people were killed and around 2,700 were wounded during the coup attempt.
Citing Fethullah Gülen as the primary suspect, the 2,354 page-long indictment identified 38 soldiers - including Adil Öksüz, Semih Terzi and Mehmet Dişli - as constituting “Peace in the Nation Council,” a name first heard on the night of the coup when a statement from the coup plotters was aired through the state-run TRT.
Although there are a number of other prosecutor indictments citing Adil Öksüz - who is regarded as the Gülen movement’s top figure in the Air Force - as one of the key suspects in the coup attempt, the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office’s investigation identified the members of the council for the first time, naming fugitive general Öksüz as the council’s top name. Öksüz was detained a day after the July 15 coup attempt but was released by a judge before being sent to court and he is still on the run.
The indictment also includes claims against Major General Mehmet Dişli, who is accused of holding Akar at gunpoint and trying to force him to make a declaration.
Dişli is the brother of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Leader Şaban Dişli.
‘2,988 aggravated life sentences’
The prosecution accused the council members of “attempting to abolish the Turkish Parliament by using force and violence,” “attempting to abolish the Turkish government by using force and violence,” “managing an armed organization,” “attempting to assassinate the president,” “killing 250 citizens,” “injuring 2,735 citizens,” and “restricting the liberty of state officials.” The aggravated life sentences demanded amounted to the number of all those killed and injured in the coup attempt, amounting to a historic 2,988 life sentences for each of the soldiers, apart from Semih Terzi who was killed during the coup attempt.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Gen. Akar, along with generals affected by the coup, are included in the indictment as victims and plaintiffs.
While 211 other suspects were also identified as coup plotters, the indictment stated that 15 of the suspects are “fugitive,” including Gülen himself.