‘Speedy’ Turkish judge assigned to Balyoz retrial court

‘Speedy’ Turkish judge assigned to Balyoz retrial court

Ali Dağlar ISTANBUL – Hürriyet
‘Speedy’ Turkish judge assigned to Balyoz retrial court

Ahmet Korkusuz has taken over from Ömer Diken and will rule on a potential retrial of the controversial Balyoz case. HÜRRİYET photo

The head of the Bakırköy 15th High Criminal Court, Ahmet Korkusuz, who is known for the rapid pace at which he conducts cases, has been assigned to the 10th High Criminal Court, where the retrial of the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot case will be held.

Korkusuz took over from Ömer Diken at the court, where the controversial Balyoz case was concluded in October 2013. 

Korkusuz is known in Turkey for both his speed and his personal efforts to conclude cases faster than usual. Unlike his colleagues, he concluded all his cases in one year at the penal court of first instance. 

On Oct. 9, 2013, the Supreme Court of Appeals approved the convictions of 237 suspects in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) coup plot case. The court also ruled for the retrial of 88 convicted suspects, and Korkusuz will be the court head at the retrial of these 88 suspects.

In his most recent case, he ruled to hand an aggravated life sentence to a man for killing his wife, the mother of their 11 children, over suspicion that she had cheated on him. The decision was made during the first hearing of the trial.

In an interview with daily Hürriyet, Korkusuz said he would personally invite witnesses to testify in the trials if the case was to be delayed due to their absence. 

Bakırköy Courthouse, headed by Korkusuz, currently has only 143 old cases that continued from 2013 to 2014, which is low in comparison to the other courthouses.

The Balyoz retrials look set to come under particular focus, as the Turkish political agenda has recently been stirred by suggestions that the coup plot cases Ergenekon and Balyoz could be more widely reopened. One of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s advisers recently said there was a “parallel state” within the state that had plotted a “conspiracy on the Turkish army.”

On Jan. 10, Erdoğan himself told reporters that there were “people who are unfairly in jail” in the Ergenekon case.

The convicted military officers have long claimed that much of the evidence against them was fabricated.

Former First Army Gen. Çetin Doğan, former Air Force Gen. Halil İbrahim Fırtına, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy and former general Engin Alan, former Navy Adm. Özden Örnek and other high-ranking retired generals were among the 237 suspects whose convictions in the Balyoz case were approved by the Supreme Court of Appeals.