A court in the capital Ankara handed down prison terms to 26 defendants for membership in the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) at a hearing yesterday. The defendants were former military judges and prosecutors.
Fourteen defendants were sentenced to seven years and six months in prison while 12 others were sentenced to six years and three months. A separate trial will be held for five other defendants.
The suspects were arrested after July 15, 2016 coup attempt carried out by military infiltrators of FETÖ. The attempt, which killed 251 people, was thwarted thanks to a strong public resistance and tens of thousands of people linked to the putsch bid and FETÖ were detained afterwards. The names of defendants in the Ankara trial were found in a list prepared by putschists and they were designated as "judges and prosecutors for martial law courts" by putschists.
FETÖ, which had expanded its clout in Turkey over the past three decades, is known for its wide network of infiltrators in law enforcement, the military, judiciary and bureaucracy. Through its infiltrators in the police and judiciary, it first tried to topple the government in 2013 by implicating people close to the government in an anti-graft probe with trumped-up evidence and false charges.
Since the coup was quelled, authorities carry out almost daily operations to capture suspects linked to the group. In yesterday's nationwide operations, 39 suspects were detained. They were among 71 suspects for whom the Chief Prosecutor's Office in Istanbul issued detention warrants. Most were former and active members of the Turkish army. Security officials said suspects were identified through the testimonies of FETÖ members caught in previous operations.