World Bulletin / News Desk
The suspects, all of them police officers, were present at a court established by the Istanbul 22nd High Criminal Court near the Silivri Closed Prison on the outskirts of the city.
They face six different charges, including attempting to overthrow the constitutional order of the Republic of Turkey, attempting to destroy parliament, attempting to destroy the republic by force, and being members of an armed terrorist organization.
At Friday’s hearing the prosecutor asked for the release of four suspects – Ali Bozan, Semih Yuksel, Samet Durak and Emre Catalbas – after imposing a ban on leaving the country.
In the indictment, the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office had sought aggravated life imprisonment for 21 of the accused, who were also allegedly using a secret smartphone messaging app called ByLock.
Turkish authorities say the app was used extensively by the FETO network before being cracked by Turkey’s intelligence services.
Up to 15 years in prison was sought for the eight other accused police officers, on the same charge-sheet.
Friday’s hearing was the first anti-FETO trial in Istanbul. Some courts in other Turkish cities have already begun hearings against suspected members of the terror network.
Turkish authorities have accused FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow Turkey’s democratically elected government through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the police, military, and judiciary.
Turkey believes FETO and Gulen orchestrated the July 15 coup plot that left 248 people martyred and over 2,200 injured.