Turkey’s top appeals court on Wednesday overturned the acquittal of seven former military members, including the formercommander of the first army, who stood trial on coup charges over an alleged 2003 plot to remove then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Turkey’s Court of Cassation overturned the acquittal of retired generals Çetin Doğan, Behzat Balta, Mehmet Kaya Varol, İhsan Balabanlı, Metin Yavuz Yalçın, Erdal Akyazan and Emin Küçükkılıç in 2015 and said the defendants should be charged with “conspiring to commit a crime,” BirGün newspaper reported.
In September 2012, an Istanbul court sentenced 236 military suspects to prison for the “Sledgehammer’’ coup plot, an alleged conspiracy to trigger a coup against the elected government of now President Erdoğan.
All were freed in 2014, when Turkey’s highest court said the trial had been flawed, with some of the evidence being designated as fabrication, based on expert reports.
Turkey’s Court of Cassation on Wednesday cited voice recordings attributed to the defendants revealing plans for the establishment of a national government following the alleged coup plot, in addition to the detention of lawmakers with Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Defendants in the Sledgehammer coup trial were accused of plottingto bomb mosques and plans to trigger a war with neighbouring Greece in order to justify a putsch.