Turkey: Prosecutors demand life term in Gezi Park case

Prosecutors ask for aggravated life sentence for 'attempt to overthrow Turkish government' in 2013 protests

Turkey: Prosecutors demand life term in Gezi Park case


By Mustafa Hatipoglu, Muhammed Enes Can and Murat Kaya


Istanbul prosecutors demanded on Wednesday aggravated life imprisonment for the key accused in the 2013 Gezi Park protests.

The 16 suspects have been charged with attempting to overthrow the Turkish government.

Osman Kavala, a philanthropist, Memet Ali Alabora, a local actor, and Can Dundar, a journalist who is also former editor-in-chief of daily Cumhuriyet, are among those on trial.

Kavala was arrested last October.

Alabora and his wife Ayse Pinar and Dundar are fugitives living abroad. Dundar was also convicted in another espionage case and sought by Turkish authorities since 2016.

Some suspects have also been charged on the counts of damaging property and possessing "dangerous materials without permission".

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has sent the indictment to the Istanbul 30th High Criminal Court.

The indictment states the protesters were trying to stage a coup as preparations for the protests were going on since 2011.

In summer of 2013, relatively small demonstrations in Istanbul’s Gezi Park grew into a nationwide wave of protests against the government that left eight protesters and a police officer dead. 

The government later said the protests were an attempt to overthrow it by Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) members, who had infiltrated the police and court system.  

On July 15, 2016, a FETO coup attempt in Turkey left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. 

Turkey accuses FETO – led by U.S.-based Gulen – of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

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