An Istanbul prosecutor asked for aggravated life imprisonment for 59 defendants in a case concerning the Gülenist Terror Group's (FETÖ) plot to overthrow the government in 2013.
Presenting his closing arguments in a hearing yesterday, prosecutor Ramazan Gökçe called on the court to sentence suspects on charges of an "attempt to remove the government of the Republic of Turkey by force," which carries the heaviest sentence under Turkish law. The prosecutor also asked the court to separately try FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen and other fugitive defendants in the case. Gülen lives in Pennsylvania in the United States, while Hüseyin Korkmaz, another fugitive, was last spotted in that country. Gülen is the highest profile defendant in the case, while Korkmaz, a former deputy police chief, was last spotted in a New York courtroom last year when he testified against Turkey in a politically charged trial.Others arrested shortly after the 2013 coup attempt and facing life imprisonment include Yakup Saygılı, Kazım Aksoy, Yasin Topçu and Mahir Çakallı, all former police chiefs stationed in Istanbul. The prosecutor also asked additional prison terms for Saygılı, Aksoy and Topçu for "running a terrorist group."
The case named the "Dec. 25 plot" after that day in 2013 when FETÖ tried, for the second time, to overthrow the government, is one of the numerous legal battles being fought to bring Gülen and his accomplices to justice after it was revealed that the retired preacher was behind a string of plots against the government and critics of his movement. The Dec. 25 plot refers to a set of operations launched by prosecutors and police chiefs with links to FETÖ under the guise of a corruption probe. The defendants are accused of scheming to topple the government by falsely accusing a close circle of Cabinet members and then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of corruption on the grounds of fabricated evidence. Gülen is among Turkey's most wanted fugitives, and he is accused of ordering another coup in 2016 when authorities moved to purge FETÖ infiltrators from the army. This bloody putsch attempt by the terrorist group killed 251 people.
The indictment against the defendants says that FETÖ members in the judiciary and law enforcement acted together "under the pretext of a corruption probe" to wiretap ministers and lawmakers and used forged evidence to have them imprisoned