August 5, 2013 - 16:36 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A Turkish court passed judgment on Monday, Aug 5, on nearly 300 defendants accused of plotting to topple the government in a historic trial that lasted five years, Today's Zaman reported.
The court sentenced former military chief Gen. İlker Başbuğ, journalist Tuncay Özkan, retired Col. Dursun Çiçek, lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, Workers' Party (İP) leader Doğu Perinçek, retired Col. Fuat Selvi, Hasan Ataman Yıldırım, retired generals Hurşit Tolon, Nusret Taşdeler, Hasan Iğsız and Şener Eruygur to aggravated life imprisonment. Retired Brig. Gen. Veli Küçük, Capt. Muzaffer Tekin and Council of State attacker Alparslan Arslan got consecutive life sentences in the trial.
Former legal counsel of the General Staff, retired Gen. Hıfzı Çubuklu sentenced to 9 years in prison. Retired Col. Arif Doğan, who recently admitted to establishing JİTEM -- a clandestine and illicit unit within the gendarmerie, got 47 years. Retired Lt. Col. Mustafa Dönmez was sentenced to 49 years 2 months
21 suspects were acquitted.
Barricades were set up around the courthouse in the Silivri jail complex, west of Istanbul, to tighten security after the defendants' supporters vowed to hold a demonstration against the five-year trial that has exposed deep divisions in Turkish society.
Prosecutors say an alleged network of secular arch-nationalists, code-named Ergenekon, pursued extra-judicial killings and bombings in order to trigger a military coup, an example of the anti-democratic forces which Erdoğan says his Islamist-rooted AK Party has fought to stamp out.
Critics, including the main opposition party, have said the charges are trumped up, aimed at stifling opposition and taming the secularist establishment which has long dominated Turkey. It says the judiciary has been subject to political influence in hearing the case.