A court in the western city of İzmir acquitted 105 defendants who claimed they were accused of corruption in a case perpetrated by police chiefs linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
The defendants were detained in operations dubbed "Quarantine" in 2009, and most were civil servants and town council members accused of running a criminal organization, corruption in public tenders and bribery. They pleaded not guilty to the charges and had claimed they were unfairly detained.
The Sixth High Criminal Court in İzmir ruled there wasn't evidence of crimes committed by the defendants and ordered their acquittal. The defendants, including a chief physician from a hospital in İzmir and businesspeople, have been on trial for 10 years and prosecutors had asked for prison terms of up to 1,000 years for each defendant. They were gradually released from detention pending trial during the legal process.
Speaking to reporters after the verdict for the acquittal, lawyer Çiler Nazife Koşar, who represented five defendants in the case, said police chiefs, prosecutors and judges who detained and tried the defendants were later imprisoned for membership to FETÖ. "This was an operation led by Nazmi Ardıç, head of an organized crime unit of the police. He was arrested four years ago [in a separate operation] for illegal wiretapping and forging evidence. My clients were detained based on illegally obtained evidence and wiretapping and based on allegations without evidence," Koşar said. "Ties between my clients [owners and executives of a company] were portrayed as criminals and they were depicted as members of a criminal organization based only on illegal wiretappings purposefully pieced together to imply that they were committing crimes. [FETÖ] went as far as including low-paid employees of this company in the investigation and arresting them on baseless allegations of corruption. Moreover, except personnel of the same companies, none of the defendants in the case knew each other, but [FETÖ-linked] police officers [incorrectly] linked them to each other through forged, concocted evidence," Koşar said.
She added that police officers linked to the terrorist group acted on "fake, anonymous letters apparently they wrote themselves" to launch "Quarantine" and based their investigation on false witnesses.