Turkey: Who are putschists slapped with heavy jail terms?

Scores of convicts get aggravated life sentences for their involvement in 2016 defeated coup in Turkey

Sibel Uğurlu,Satuk Buğra Kutlugün,Zehra Nur Düz,Erdoğan Çağatay Zontur,Gözde Bayar,Dilara Hamit   | 20.06.2019
Turkey: Who are putschists slapped with heavy jail terms?


Nearly three years on, scores of convicts received heavy jail terms for their involvement in the defeated 2016 coup in Turkey. 

In the main trial of former general staff personnel, 224 defendants have been tried, including alleged members of the so-called "Peace at Home Council" -- a sub-group of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- which was meant to replace the government had the deadly putsch not been defeated.

On Thursday, 17 top putschists each faced 141 aggravated life sentences less than month before the third anniversary of the deadly July 15 coup attempt

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Here are the main FETO convicts who received heavy jail terms: 

Akin Ozturk, former Air Force Commander General  

Ozturk, the key officer who plotted the coup from within the military, received a total of 141 aggravated life sentences.

Charges against Ozturk include violating the Constitution, attempted assassination of the president, trying to overthrow parliament, directing an armed terrorist group, mutiny, first-degree homicide, damaging public property, endangering public safety, harming houses of worship, and offenses against civil liberty.

Ozturk was charged with being a member of the FETO/PDY (Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organization and Parallel State Structure) and a member of the so-called council.

The indictment also recounted a conversation when a person identified as Bayram Aktan asked then-Major Mehmet Akcara "Where is the commander?" referring to the loyalist Chief of General Staff General Hulusi Akar.

According to Aktan's statement, Akcara responded: "There is no commander. From now on Akin Ozturk is the commander." 

Former General Hakan Evrim, commander of Ankara's Akinci Main Jet Base

A member of the so-called "Peace at Home Council", Evrim was handed 141 aggravated life sentences for his involvement in the defeated coup.

He was the commander of Akinci Main Jet Base, which was used as headquarters during the attempt.

If the coup attempt had been successful, Evrim would have been slated to become the "Undersecretary of National Education".

Evrim asked then-Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar to speak with Gulen, whom he described as an "opinion leader", while holding Akar under detention with other pro-coup forces. 

Mehmet Disli, FETO’s coup director

Also a member of the putschist council, Mehmet Disli received 141 aggravated life sentences.

He was the head of the General Staff's Strategic Transformation Department with the rank of major-general until FETO's treacherous coup attempt.

Disli said he would ask Akar -- currently serving as defense minister -- to cooperate and lead the coup attempt, after having planned the attempted putsch with two other former officers in the General Staff headquarters. Had Akar accepted, Akin Ozturk would have been second-in-command.

After face-to-face meetings with other FETO-member soldiers in the headquarters, he entered Akar's office to tell the four-star general that an operation against the government was imminent, only to be vehemently rejected by Akar.

Unable to persuade Akar to lead the coup attempt, Disli ordered his accompanying soldiers to detain him.

Akar was later taken to the Akinci Base via military helicopter.

FETO soldiers who lost hope after realizing the putsch would fail were forced to release Akar. Seeing this as an opportunity, Disli rode in the same helicopter as Akar to former seat of the now-defunct prime ministry at the Cankaya Palace in Ankara.

He was subsequently exposed by Akar who met with then-Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and reported Disli’s suspicious behavior throughout the night. Afterwards, Disli was detained. 

Ilhan Talu, General Staff personnel chief

Among the members of the putschist council, Ilhan Talu, a former lieutenant general, was slapped with an aggravated life sentence for violating constitutional order.

He served as the General Staff personnel chief until the treacherous coup attempt of FETO. 

Talu guided Special Forces personnel to the hallway of the General Staff headquarters and mislead Yusuf Yalcin, a guard of the second chief, and Mehmet Satun, a sergeant on duty, by saying an exercise was being carried out. 

In a court hearing, he claimed he alerted the authorities who were not involved in the coup attempt on July 15 after learning that it was a coup bid led by FETO. 

Levent Turkkan, aide of former chiefs of general staff 

Turkan started to serve as the aide of the then-chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel in 2011. After assuming the post, Turkkan started to receive secret missions from FETO. 

Turkkan had confessed he spied on Ozel during his post between 2011- 2015. 

Once General Hulusi Akar was appointed as the Chief of Staff, Turkkan said he stopped wire-tapping.

He proved his commitment to the FETO terror group during the coup attempt as being a part of the staff that entered Akar's room and gagged him.

After the thwarted coup bid, Turkkan said he surrendered to the military officials who turned him in to the police.

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