Two judges and a prosecutor linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) were handed prison terms of three to 11 years Thursday in the notorious "Cosmic Room" case by a court in the capital Ankara.
The Cosmic Room refers to a military facility in Ankara where top-secret military documents and data are stored. Mustafa Bilgili, then a prosecutor, had issued a search warrant for the facility in an investigation of an alleged assassination attempt against a politician. His request to personally search the facility was denied by the military, but Judge Kadir Kayan ignored the ban and ordered the search that lasted for 20 days. CDs, documents and hard drives containing top secret documents were taken out of the facility during the investigation. Kayan, who was later appointed as a member of the Supreme Court, went on the run after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt blamed on FETÖ's military infiltrators. A subsequent investigation into the actions of judges and prosecutors in the case found that they got hold of documents not related to the assassination probe, including preparation plans for any future wars and inner workings of the army.
Yesterday, Mustafa Bilgili was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for obtaining documents regarding state security and handed down an additional 11 years in prison for membership in a terrorist group. Former Judge Halil İbrahim Kütük was sentenced to three years and four months in prison for obtaining documents regarding state security and received an eight-year prison term for FETÖ membership. The court ordered renewal of the arrest warrant for former Judge Nihal Uslu after she did not show up in the last hearings and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Uslu was released pending trial after her initial detention.
FETÖ, which disguised itself as a charity movement with religious undertones, had planted its men and women in a number of institutions over the years, from the judiciary to law enforcement and the military. It is now accused of using its infiltrators to advance its influence and clout within the state, organizing sham trials and imprisoning its critics.Since the 2016 coup attempt was thwarted, the terrorist group has faced a new crackdown, and police capture FETÖ members in operations almost on a daily basis. In yesterday's operations, 14 suspects with ties to the group's secret cells in the military and the police were captured in the northwestern city of Bursa. Suspects were staying in "gaybubet" or "absence" houses, a type of safe house used for secret meetings of the group's wanted members and to hide them. Among the captured suspects was a niece of Mehmet Likoğlu, former police chief of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa who went on the run after an arrest warrant was issued for him due to his links to the terrorist group.
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