News / Europe

Hundreds Convicted for Turkey Plot

 Relatives of Turkish soldiers react after a court decision in Silivri, September 21, 2012.
Relatives of Turkish soldiers react after a court decision in Silivri, September 21, 2012.
Dorian Jones
A court in Istanbul has convicted dozens of former armed forces members of attempting to overthrow Turkey's Islamic-based government. The verdict, like the case, is proving controversial.

Three former senior members of the Turkish armed forces have been convicted as ringleaders in a plot to overthrow the Islamic-rooted government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. All three were sentenced to life in prison but, due to a legal technicality, their sentences were reduced to 20 years. Three others, including a retired general who is now a member of parliament, received 18 years for roles in the plot.

Three-hundred-and-thirty out of the 364 people on trial were convicted. All received the maximum sentence prosecutors were demanding.

The conspiracy, code named Balyoz (Sledgehammer), was started by the military in the early 1990s after the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development party came to power. The army, which sees itself as guardian of the secular state, was deeply suspicious of the ruling party's Islamic roots. Prosecutors say the conspiracy sought to create political turmoil in the country by planting bombs in mosques, carrying out assassinations and provoking a war with neighboring Greece.

Retired General Cetin Dogan (C) speaks to the media before surrendering himself at a courthouse in Istanbul, February 14, 2011.Retired General Cetin Dogan (C) speaks to the media before surrendering himself at a courthouse in Istanbul, February 14, 2011.
x
Retired General Cetin Dogan (C) speaks to the media before surrendering himself at a courthouse in Istanbul, February 14, 2011.
Retired General Cetin Dogan (C) speaks to the media before surrendering himself at a courthouse in Istanbul, February 14, 2011.
But defense lawyers and critics claimed much of the evidence was fabricated, pointing out that street names and buildings mentioned in the evidence did not exist at the time of the conspiracy. Ali Ozgunduz, a lawyer and Member of Parliament for the main opposition Republican People's Party, condemned the verdict.

He says the defendants' right to defend themselves has been denied.  
 
Observers say the case has been divisive in Turkey and there has been growing criticism of the way it was handled. But along with large amounts of documentary evidence, a former chief of the armed forces, Hilmi Ozkok, testified for the prosecution.

Political scientist Cengiz Aktar of Bahcesehir University says the case is a landmark for Turkish democracy.

"It is a major development to the benefit of the demilitarization process in this country," he said.

The convictions are the result of a two-year trial of charges connected to 2003's so-called "Sledgehammer" conspiracy. Turkish officials said the military had devised a plot to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Erdogan.

The Turkish armed forces have seized power three times since 1960, the last in 1980. Bringing the military under civilian rule is a key demand of European Union membership, which Turkey is seeking. Lawyers for the defendants have said they will be appealing to the European court of human rights.

You May Like

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

Feasts centering on turkeys with an array of traditional sides and desserts are part of the holiday's traditions, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid