Supreme Court of Appeal upholds acquittal of 357 in military espionage case
ANKARATurkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has upheld a decision to acquit 357 people who were tried in the controversial military espionage case, believed to have been pursued by prosecutors linked to the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
In February, a court in İzmir eventually acquitted 357 suspects, including active-duty soldiers, in the trial of a military espionage case in which defendants were accused of “keeping confidential military information and documents.”
The case refers to the 2011 prosecution of 56 members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on charges of military espionage and blackmailing, including illegal wiretapping, founding a criminal organization, and espionage. The indictment alleged that the accused intended to share information with third parties in return for financial gain.
One of the lawyers of the acquitted defendants, Aykanat Kaçmaz, said the decision of the court of appeals meant the path was now clear for the promotion of commissioned and non-commissioned officers who were under arrest during their trials.
After the initial acquittal of the suspects, an investigation was launched into a number of police officials, including former İzmir Police Chief Ail Bilkay, for organizing a plot against the soldiers embroiled in the case.
Police officers and prosecutors behind the case are thought to be linked to the Gülen movement, a former ally of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who is now accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of attempting to overthrow the government.