Turkish army: Find those behind Balyoz ‘plot’
Uğur Ergan ANKARA
Families and friends of the Balyoz coup plot case protest against the illegalities in the Balyoz coup plot case, in this file photo.The Turkish General Staff has announced that it expects those responsible for the fabrications in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot case, in which all 236 suspects were acquitted during the retrial on April 1, to be punished.
“In accordance with the denunciations we have made, we await the appropriate punishment after a fair trial of those who deeply wounded our comrades in arms, their families, and the Turkish General Staff,” read a part of the statement released by the General Staff on its website on April 1.
The Anatolian 4th High Criminal Court acquitted all 236 suspects, including former generals Çetin Doğan, Özden Örnek, Halil İbrahim Fırtına, Dursun Çiçek, Bilgin Balanlı, Ergin Saygun, Nejat Bek and Süha Tanyeri, along with Engin Alan, now a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy, in the Balyoz coup plot retrial on March 31, after the case’s prosecutor argued that the digital data in files submitted as evidence in the case was “fake” and did not constitute evidence.
The General Staff also stated that the trial ended in a way they had expected with the acquittal.
Meanwhile, suspects in the Balyoz case preparing to sue the journalists allegedly involved in the fabrications, the court where the case was first heard, and the members of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), on the grounds of “plotting” against them.
Çetin Doğan, the former 1st army commander, said the court’s decision had mentioned the Public Prosecutor’s Office’s judicial discretionary power, thus opening the way for compensation.
“It is not important whether a case to compensate the damages is opened or not. What is important are the lives and dreams of bright staff colonels, who would have become generals and admirals, faded away. What compensation will bring these [dreams] back?” asked Doğan.
Stating that his aim was not to receive money from the state, he added that he only wanted heavy compensation cases to be filed against those responsible for the “plot” against the General Staff.
Retired General Cem Gürdeniz said “trust in justice and the courts” no longer existed, and vowed that those responsible for the cases would be tried at court. Gürdeniz also said he would file a complaint for compensation against the Naval Forces for blocking his promotion and against the Justice Ministry for his unfairly given time in prison.
Balyoz was an alleged military coup plot targeting the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) drafted in 2003. The military is alleged to have planned drastic measures to create unrest in the country in order to remove the AKP from power. The measures included bombing two major mosques in Istanbul, an assault on a military museum by people disguised as religious extremists, and the raising of tension with Greece through an attack on a Turkish plane that was to be blamed on the Aegean neighbor.
An Istanbul court sentenced 331 of the 365 suspects to prison terms on Sept. 21, 2012, while 34 suspects were acquitted. Three retired generals were sentenced to life in prison on charges of “attempting to overthrow the government by force,” but the terms were later reduced to 20 years because of the “incomplete attempt at staging a coup,” the court said.
All Balyoz suspects and convicts, including high-ranking generals, were released in June 2014 after the Constitutional Court ruling.
A Dec. 15, 2014, expert report revealed that key pieces of evidence in the case were fabricated, including the notes on two CDs which the report said were written by a machine, not handwritten by Tanyeri as previously alleged. Another expert report dated Feb. 17 revealed that more pieces of evidence in the case were fabricated.