Wife who aided putschist general sentenced in FETÖ coup trial


Nazire Terzi, the wife of Semih Terzi, a pro-coup general who played a major role in the July 15, 2016 coup bid by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), was sentenced to 18 years in prison for aiding her husband. Brig. Gen. Semih Terzi was shot dead by Ömer Halisdemir, an officer hailed as an anti-coup hero, when he tried to take over the headquarters of an elite military force on behalf of putschists. Halisdemir was killed by Terzi's entourage, but the general's death helped thwart the putschists' plot to capture the headquarters.

Nazire Terzi knew that her husband, stationed at a military base in southeastern Turkey, would join the coup attempt, one week before putschists killed 249 people on July 15, 2016, the prosecutors said in the indictment. A doctor by profession, she sneaked into a military hospital where the body of her husband was kept and disappeared after hospital officials spotted her. Days later, she was detained at a notary's office where she tried to transfer her husband's assets.

Her main role in the coup bid was to divert attention from Terzi for the slain general's travel to Ankara where the base he planned to capture is located. She called the wife of Zekai Aksakallı, an anti-coup general who led the military base Terzi sought to take over and told her that her husband would "visit Ankara" to see his sick mother on July 15. Instead, Semih Terzi boarded a military aircraft with fellow putschists, who are currently on trial in another case, and stormed the headquarters of the Special Forces Command.

Since the coup attempt, tens of thousands of people have been arrested or detained for suspected links to the coup attempt and FETÖ. More trials are expected to wrap up later this year, while the main trial on the takeover of the office of the Chief of General Staff in which 221 defendants are being tried is still underway.

FETÖ is accused of orchestrating multiple coup attempts in Turkey, and its members face terrorism charges. According to prosecutors, the group used its infiltrators in the military to run the coup attempt, overseen by its nonmilitary point men. Led by its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen, the group long disguised itself as a religious charity before moving to seize power in Turkey with two coup attempts in 2013 using its infiltrators in law enforcement and the judiciary. After the 2013 attempts, Turkey designated it a national threat and escalated a crackdown on the group.

Prosecutors say coup plotters established the Peace at Home Council that oversaw the attempt. Semih Terzi was one of the members of the council that consisted of generals and other high-ranking military officers under the instruction of a senior Gülenist named Adil Öksüz. Currently at large, Öksüz, who served as a theology lecturer at a university before the coup attempt, held meetings with senior figures involved in the bid to plan the attempt.

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