The trial of seven former judges and prosecutors for orchestrating sham trials on behalf of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) opened Friday in the capital Ankara. They are being tried by the Supreme Court for fabricating crimes and abuse of duty for their role in the notorious Ergenekon trial.
"Ergenekon" was the alleged name of a secretive terrorist group in a sham case filed by FETÖ-linked prosecutors. The alleged group was "uncovered" in 2007 when weapons hidden in a house in Istanbul's Ümraniye district were discovered to be linked to the Ergenekon "terrorist group." What followed was a barrage of detentions that included everyone from veteran politician Doğu Perinçek to former army chief İlker Başbuğ, journalists Tuncay Özkan and Mustafa Balbay and other renowned figures. The defendants were held in custody for years before a final verdict in 2013 that sentenced them to various prison terms. In 2014, it was revealed that the trial was faulty, and the defendants were released. Further investigation showed the trial was based on false evidence and fabricated charges designed to imprison FETÖ critics, whose infiltrators have been charged for three separate coup attempts since 2013.
FETÖ is accused of conspiring to imprison its critics through sham trials conducted by its infiltrators in the judiciary with the assistance of police officers loyal to the terrorist group. All defendants in the sham trial case, save for two at large, are now being held in jail. Friday's hearing was attended by victims of the sham trial, including former generals and military officers.
The defendants face prison terms ranging between three to 600 years for their role in the Ergenekon case. They will be separately tried on charges of FETÖ membership.