Trial into Gülen network’s ‘media leg’ begins in Istanbul

Trial into Gülen network’s ‘media leg’ begins in Istanbul

Trial into Gülen network’s ‘media leg’ begins in Istanbul

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The trial into the “media leg” of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have orchestrated the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, has begun in Istanbul with a total of 29 suspects. 

The hearing of the case was held in the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan on March 27 with the participation of 25 arrested suspects and two other suspects who are currently being tried without arrest. Two others are fugitives. 

Singer Atilla Taş, Oğuz Usluer, Ünal Tanık, Ufuk Şanlı, and Hanım Büşra Erdal are among those tried, as well as Said Sefa, who is a fugitive suspected of managing a Twitter account called “fuatavni,” which was branded as a propaganda tool for the followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. Bülent Ceyhan, also a journalist, is a fugitive too. 

The 25 suspects attended their hearings with their lawyers, and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers Mahmut Tanal, Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Şafak Pavey were also present among the audience. 

Prosecutor Murat Çağlak from the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s Terror and Organized Crime Bureau sought aggravated life sentence for Sefa over “attempting to remove the government of the Turkish Republic” and “partially or completely preventing them from carrying out their duties, using force and violence,” in the indictment accepted by the Istanbul 25th Heavy Penal Court.

In addition, Çağlak sought up to 22.5 years in prison for Sefa on charges of “managing an armed terrorist organization.” 

Up to 15 years of prison sentence is sought on charges of “being a member of an armed terrorist organization” for Taş, who was a columnist for the daily Meydan; Tanık, the owner of the shut-down “Rotahaber” website; and 26 other journalists. 

Asked about his profession, Taş noted that “he was a singer in the past,” noting that he was now arrested over journalism. 

When asked a question about his monthly income, he said that “I’m currently in jail. I can’t earn money.” 

The hearings are expected to continue on March 28, 29, 30 and 31. 

Meanwhile, the operations into the “media leg” of FETÖ are ongoing and a second indictment is currently being prepared, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.