A court in Ankara has acquitted 26 suspects who were facing terrorism charges in relation to incidents in the Turkish capital during the nationwide 2013 Gezi Park protests.
The suspects were detained on June 25, 2013 on charges of "being a member of an armed terrorist organisation,” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organisation.”
The presiding judge at Ankara’s High Criminal Court no:12 acquitted all of the 26 defendants of the terrorism charges on Tuesday.
The defendants were also charged with "breaching the Law on Meetings and Demonstration Marches" as well as “joining meetings and demonstration marches with stones or weapons," "resistance to police" and "destroying public property," for which 24 of them were fined between 3,000 to 6,000 Turkish liras (about $1,000 to $2,000).
The trial against the suspects began in November 2014, more than a year after the protests erupted against the Istanbul municipality's decision to remove trees in a rare green space area of the city center, as part of a developmental project.
What began as an environmental issue, with concerned Istanbulites numbering in the dozens occupying Gezi Park to prevent the removal of the trees, soon mushroomed into a nationwide wave of protests against the Turkish government.
Turkish authorities later labeled the demonstrations as a coup attempt, perpetrated by a "parallel state" embedded in the country's institutions.