Gülenist media figure held secret calls, ex-wife says in testimony
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMar 07, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Mar 07, 2015 12:00 am
After the counter-terrorism police force found bags of evidence and compact disks belonging to the Gülen Movement-affiliated journalist at Taraf daily, Mehmet Baransu, at his ex-wife Esra Konur's house, she said in her testimony at the Istanbul Police Department on Thursday that she did not know where he obtained the bags, but that he had held phone conversations in secret at home.
She added that her husband told her that the phone conversations were with his sources. All the documents found at Baransu's residential addresses will be investigated by the counter-terrorism department and will later be submitted to the court.
According to a press statement made by Esra Konur's lawyer, the evidence was found in Konur's basement during a 12-hour search conducted at her house in Istanbul's Kağıthane district. The documents are expected to be revealed in the upcoming days with the presence of Baransu's lawyers.
Istanbul's counter-terrorism department teams searched Konur's home in Kağıthane for compact disks and documents relating to the Sledgehammer (Balyoz) case.
Baransu was arrested by an Istanbul court on Monday for plotting against some suspects of the Sledgehammer coup trial. An investigation was launched into allegations that the suspects in the Sledgehammer trial were subjected to a plot that led to their incarceration. The allegations claim evidence that was given in court while the suspects were standing trial for allegedly planning a coup was fabricated.
Baransu was detained on Sunday and referred to court with a demand for his arrest on charges of "forming an organization to commit a crime and obtaining, serving and eliminating confidential state documents"
Sledgehammer is an alleged military coup plot by a junta in the Turkish Armed Forces that reportedly dates back to 2003, a year after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came to power. According to the alleged plan, the military was to systematically foment chaos in society through chilling acts of violence, including bombing mosques in Istanbul and downing a Turkish war plane over the Aegean Sea. In September 2012, the court sentenced 324 of the 365 defendants to prison for conspiring to topple the government, although an appeals court partially overturned the decision and released 88 of the defendants in October 2013 due to lack of evidence.
The Gülen Movement, led by the U.S.-based former imam, Fethullah Gülen, is seen as a threat to national security by the Turkish government for its alleged illegal operations including trying to topple the government. They are accused of infiltrating top state institutions and wiretapping thousands of people including senior state officials, journalists, actors, heads of non-governmental organizations and other citizens.