Turkey plans to hear FETÖ cases by start of 2017
ANKARAThe first trials of the thousands of suspects arrested in the wake of Turkey’s failed July 15 coup attempt will begin in early 2017, the chief Ankara prosecutor said on Nov. 3.
Thousands of ex-soldiers and civilians are currently in jail pending trial on suspicion of involvement in the coup attempt, widely believed to have been masterminded by followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
“Without giving an exact date, we expect to begin the first trials at the start of 2017,” prosecutor Harun Kodalak said, adding that the plan is to “accelerate next year.”
“There could be a trial or trials opened in the last month of this year, but it is in 2017 that we are planning to open a series of trials,” Kodalak said.
He cited the previous Ergenekon and Balyoz coup plot cases, which were ultimately discredited due to falsified evidence, as warnings about due process.
“We saw that hundreds of suspects were innocent in these cases. We don’t want to put all people into a single case and end up with deadlock. We aim to hear all [the cases] separately and process each one quickly,” Kodalak added.
The trials are expected to amount to the most substantial legal process in Turkey’s modern history, with purpose-built facilities needed to be set up in some areas.
Regarding Kemal Batmaz, who prosecutors identified as the “second mastermind” of the coup attempt on Nov. 3, Kodalak stressed that he was one of the attempt’s most critical minds.
“He seems to be as important as Adil Oksuz,” he said, referring to the coup’s main leader in Turkey.