Former Turkish Army Chief among 19 people handed Life Term for Coup Plot

Aug 6, 2013 15:50 IST

Istanbul’s 13th High Criminal Court on 5 August 2013 announced life terms in jail to 19 high profile people in the Ergenekon coup plot trial. 19 people, against whom the court passed its verdict, include General Ilker Basbug along with 10 retired military officers and Dogu Perincek, leader of the left-wing and nationalist Workers Party as well as some lawyers and journalists. At least 64 other defendants received sentences ranging from a year to 47 years. In total, 275 people were accused of having their role in the Ergenekon plot.

The coup was led by the former Army Chief, General İlker Basbug to overthrow, the Islamist-leaning AKP Government that came to power in 2002. The Government at that time was led by Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. İlker Basbug was the Chief of Turkish Army between 2008 and 2010.

The verdict was passed by the Istanbul’s 13th High Criminal Court (that was developed in the high-security Silivri prison complex) after a trial that lasted for five years. The court found 254 of the 275 defendants in the Ergenekon case guilty, of one or more of the 23 charges listed in the case. The reason for the judgment would be provided by the court in detail in September 2013. The court’s trial is considered as one of the most important legal battles in the recent history of Turkey.

Ergenekon Coup Investigation
The Ergenekon coup investigation dates back to 2007 case came to the limelight after a manhunt was launched following the discovery 27 hand grenades in an Istanbul house. The convicts were charged with attempt to overthrow the AKP Government and links with shadowy terrorist organizations.

Ergenekon is the mythical name located somewhere in the inaccessible valleys of the Altay Mountains, whereas in Turkey it is the name given to an alleged secularist ultra-nationalist organization that had people from security and military forces, business leaders, secularists and arch-nationalists as its member. The Ergenekon is also termed as the deep state.

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