Nazlı Ilıcak, who was already sentenced to an aggravated life sentence in another case related to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), faces another espionage charge. Prosecutors asked for a life sentence for Ilıcak in a trial in Istanbul yesterday.
Ilıcak is accused of "disclosing confidential information regarding state security for the purpose of espionage." The case stems from her release of a confidential document belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in her column in 2015 for the now-defunct Bugün newspaper, a mouthpiece for FETÖ. The document was about Tahşiyeciler, a religious group whose members were imprisoned on false charges by FETÖ's infiltrators in law enforcement and judiciary. The group has claimed that they fell victim to sham trials organized by Gülenists when they criticized FETÖ. Hundreds were imprisoned in the past in a string of cases that later turned out to be sham trials by the terrorist group, including generals and journalists.
FETÖ is accused of running such trials and imprisoning people on forged evidence to stifle its critics. The hearing in Istanbul was adjourned for the final defense of Ilıcak who pleaded not guilty.She was handed down an aggravated life sentence in another trial in February concerning the media arm of the terrorist group FETÖ, along with five others. Ilıcak was a fierce advocate for the terrorist group and was accused of calling for the coup to take place and of intimate ties with the putschists and senior figures in the terrorist group. The defendants were arrested following the July 15, 2016 coup attempt carried out by FETÖ's infiltrators in the military.
The terrorist group, which faces a new barrage of trials after the 2016 coup attempt, is accused of running media outlets to vindicate its actions and orchestrating defamation campaigns against the group's critics.
FETÖ once wielded considerable clout in the media. The group owned several TV stations, published newspapers and magazines that disseminated the group's propaganda and had several radio stations. Most were closed down as part of the crackdown on the group and were handed to trustees as the legal process against FETÖ members got underway. The media was key for Gülen to spread his messages to followers. Gülen, who faces extradition from the U.S., is already implicated in a string of criminal cases including those on the coup attempt carried out by his followers in the military and sham trials against his critics.