Retrial begins of Ergenekon conspiracy suspects



A court case involving a reported conspiracy to overthrow Turkey’s government dating back a decade started fresh trials on Wednesday in the capital Ankara.

The original Ergenekon conspiracy probe, dating to 2007, led to trials in 2013 of military officers, politicians, academics, and journalists, but last year the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned hundreds of convictions in the case.

At Wednesday’s retrial hearing, prosecutors asked that the cases of 19 of 274 suspects, including former Chief of General Staff Ilker Basbug, be heard separately from the other cases, at the Supreme Court.

The prosecutor also asked that consolidated cases against 113 suspects be separated as “there is no concrete evidence of the presence of an Ergenekon terrorist organization, and thus a non-existent terrorist organization can neither have managers, members, or supporters, nor it is possible to commit crimes for it.”

Turkish authorities have said the 2013 Ergenekon trial was based on fabricated evidence, and blamed the prosecutions on Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) member soldiers trying to purge the military of rival officers.

FETO, led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, is accused of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey — which martyred 250 people and injured thousands — as well as being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through infiltrating Turkish institutions, including the military.

In addition to Basbug, the Ergenekon case has involved two retired generals, Veli Kucuk and Hursit Tolon, and opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputies Mehmet Haberal and Mustafa Balbay.

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