September 22, 2012 - 08:45 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Three former Turkish generals, who were key suspects in the Sledgehammer coup trial, have been sentenced to 20 years in prison on coup charges, a ruling that is expected to help curtail the Turkish military's hold on politics, Today’s Zaman reports.
Former 1st Army Commander retired Gen. Çetin Doğan, former Air Forces Commander Gen. Halil İbrahim Fırtına and former Naval Forces Commander Adm. Özden Örnek were initially given life imprisonment but the court said the three would only serve 20-year prison sentences because they were unsuccessful in their bid to topple the government. It acquitted 34 officers in the case, which has underlined civilian dominance over the once all-powerful military in Turkey.
Retired Gen. Engin Alan, War Academies Commander Gen. Bilgin Balanlı, retired Gen. Ergin Saygun, former National Security Council (MGK) Secretary-General Şükrü Sarıışık, retired Gen. Nejat Bek, retired Adm. Ahmet Feyyaz Öğütçü and retired Gen. Süha Tanyeri were also each sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Prosecutors had demanded 15-20 year jail sentences for the 365 defendants, 364 of them serving and retired officers.
The court issued 16 year jail sentences for 214 suspects, including the retired Col. Dursun Çiçek and retired military judge Ahmet Zeki Üçok, in the historic coup trial.
Çiçek was arrested on charges of preparing the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism, which sought to undermine the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and the religion-based Gülen movement.
Among the 365 suspects, 250 behind bars and the rest pending trial outside of custody. The verdict session was the 108th hearing in the trial.