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Balyoz Trial Fails to Defeat Turkish Army Without a Fight

All 236 suspects in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) coup plot case were acquitted March 31 after the case’s prosecutor argued that digital data in the files submitted as evidence in the case was “fake” and did not constitute evidence.

All 236 suspects in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) coup plot case were acquitted March 31 after the case’s prosecutor argued that digital data in the files submitted as evidence in the case was “fake” and did not constitute evidence.

“It is understood that the digital data in the file is not evidence. We reached the conclusion that it is not possible to find any relation between the suspects and the digital data in question” said prosecutor Ramazan Öksüz, demanding that the court acquit all suspects during the fifth hearing at the retrial of the Balyoz case held by the Anatolian 4th High Criminal Court.

The retrial of the Balyoz case began on Nov. 3, 2014, after the Constitutional Court ruled in June 2014 unanimously that the convicted suspects’ rights were violated concerning “digital data and the defendants’ testimonies.”

Former generals Çetin Doğan, Özden Örnek, Halil İbrahim Fırtına, Dursun Çiçek, Bilgin Balanlı, Ergin Saygun, Nejat Bek and Süha Tanyeri, along with Engin Alan, who is now a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy, are among the 236 suspects.

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.

All Balyoz suspects and convicts, including high-ranking generals, were released in June 2014 after the Constitutional Court ruling.

Sledgehammer 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 foment 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.

Historical Process of the Balyoz Trial

It all began with the news of Mehmet Baransu on 20 October 2010 in Taraf Newspaper, where Baransu mentioned that a retired officer, whose identity was not revealed, brought him a suitcase full of documents. According to those documents, a coup plan had been implemented by the 1st Army Command in March 2003. Baransu brought the suitcase to the specially authorized prosecutor in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul on 30 January 2010. Following this the Kemalist commanders of the Turkish Armed Forces who opposed the ruling party, the AKP and their Islamization of Turkey, were arrested.

During the longest trial in the history of the Supreme Court, the digital evidence has been the subject of continuous debate. The defence lawyers argued that a large amount of the evidence is fake, and that conflicts exist in around 2000 separate issues. It has also been proven by observers from scientific organizations that the CDs which were presented as evidence for the trial were falsified, and some of the commanders accused of participating in the so called “coup meeting” were on overseas duty at the time. However, despite these well documented judicial indignities, Kemalists officers in Turkish Armed Forces were tried and sentenced en masse during the trials, widely claimed to have been overseen by government supporters. The following is a selection of evidence suspected or proven to be falsified:

    The ‘Calibri’ font was used when writing the coup plan, the Balyoz Operation Plan and in digital documents dated 2003. However, this font was released by Microsoft in 2007.

    According to the Balyoz documents, a task was given to the warship called TCG Alanya in 2003. However, this ship was built and launched in 2005.

    The scouting report concerning the Fatih Mosque which were to be allegedly bombed according to the coup plan, includes information concerned the mobile electronic system integration (MOBESE) camera records. But it has been proven that no MOBESE system existed in the year 2003.

    The Medical Park Sultan Gazi Hospital, whose name was written in the documents from the year 2003, was actually established with this name in 2008, and the New Recordati company whose name took its place in same document was founded in 2009.

    The computer on which CD no.11 had been has not been found and it has been proven that the CD in question was not written in on a computer used by the Turkish Armed Forces.
    The names of the shopping centres in Balıkesir and Bandırma provinces of Turkey were found in the coup plan but it has been proved that the shopping centres in question were opened in 2010 and 2011.

It was proven by the report of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality that 10 different street names that took a place in the reports said to have been prepared in 2003, in fact took their names in 2007.

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