Turkey still awaits for final verdict in coup case after delays

A Turkish court has still not announced its final verdict in a coup plot case known as Sledgehammer although the court was due to announce its decision on Thursday.

Turkey still awaits for final verdict in coup case after delays

World Bulletin / News Desk

A Turkish court has still not announced its final verdict in a coup plot case known as Balyoz (Sledgehammer) although the court was due to announce its decision on Thursday.

The 107th and last hearing of the trial was held at the İstanbul 10th High Criminal Court at the Silivri Prison complex on Thursday. The court took a recess before announcing its final ruling on Thursday afternoon but said later in the day that the verdict would be announced on Friday.

"We weren't able to reach a verdict despite a meeting that -- due to the high number of defendants -- lasted for more than seven hours," said Ömer Diken, the head of a three-judge panel hearing the case.

"We will continue tomorrow ... when we will announce the verdict," he said.

The court was then expected to announce its verdict Friday at 2:00 p.m. but took a recess after hearing final statements from four suspects who had been absent at Thursday's session. The court is still on break. The constant delays raised some questions as they are not usual in Turkish judicial system.

The majority of the accused made their statements in the previous hearings, but some have refused to do so, arguing that they have not been given a fair trial.

Sledgehammer is a suspected coup plot believed to have been devised in 2003 with the aim of unseating the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government through violent acts. According to the Sledgehammer plan, the military was to systematically foment chaos in society through acts of violence, among which were planned bomb attacks on the Fatih and Beyazıt mosques in İstanbul. The plot allegedly sought to undermine the government to lay the groundwork for a coup d'état. The military, which has overthrown three governments since 1960 and pressured a conservative government to step down in 1997, has denied the existence of such a plan.

There are 365 suspects, all retired or active duty members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), in the Sledgehammer coup case. A total of 250 of the suspects are currently detained as part of the trial. The suspects include retired Gen. Çetin Doğan, former Air Force Commander İbrahim Fırtına, former Naval Forces Commander Adm. Özden Örnek and retired Gen. Engin Alan.

Last Mod: 21 Eylül 2012, 17:50
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