Turkish prosecution to appeal acquittal in Sledgehammer case

Prosecutor decides to appeal acquittal of seven suspects in Turkey’s high profile Balyoz case, also known as the Sledgehammer case

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The chief prosecutor of Istanbul’s Anadolu Courthouse decided on Tuesday to appeal the decision to acquit seven suspects in Turkey’s high profile Balyoz case, also known as the Sledgehammer case.

The names of the suspects include Cetin Dogan, Ihsan Balabanli, Behzat Balta, Mehmet Kaya Varol, Metin Yavuz Yalcin, Erdal Akyazan and Emin Kucukkilic.

The Sledgehammer investigation was launched in 2010 after Taraf daily columnist Mehmet Baransu published documents alleging a coup was being planned against the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government by working and retired high ranking military officers.

On March 31, a trial held at Istanbul’s Anadolu courthouse concluded with the acquittal of 236 suspects in the case.

In the petition against the seven suspects, the prosecution said “The content of Dogan’s speeches at the planning seminars were towards a coup plot and the speeches of remaining six suspects also displayed similarities and coincided with Dogan’s speeches. Also, considering the number of troops under the command of the suspects as well as the equipment and tools, it was understood that the suspects had the means to carry out the alleged crime.”

Baransu was detained on March 2 and sent to prison later on charges of plotting against the defendants of the Balyoz case. He is also facing charges of “destroying information about national security, using information for illegal purposes and illegally obtaining information on national security,” and faces life imprisonment.

Baransu is known to have close ties with the Gulen Movement led by US based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers are thought to be positioned in critical state institutions such as the police force, bureaucracy and judiciary as well as the media. The movement was accused of trying to overthrow the government in an operation between the dates of Dec. 17-25 last year, but the claims have been denied by Gulen himself. 

TRTWorld and agencies