Eight Navy colonels who were acquitted in the notorious Balyoz (Sledgehammer) and military espionage cases were promoted to the rank of brigadier general in Wednesday's Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meeting.
Five of the eight generals, Türker Koçpınar, Yavuz Kılıç, Ayhan Gedik, Cem Okyay and Şafak Duruer, were accused and suspended from duty in the Sledgehammer case.
The Sledgehammer case refers to a non-existent coup plot staged by the First Army Command between March 5 and March 7, 2003, in an attempt to overthrow the country's elected government. The five-stage plan was allegedly prepared by a junta under the leadership of then First Army Commander Gen. Çetin Doğan.
All 236 suspects of the case were acquitted on May 2015 by court rule after it is revealed that the suspects were actually victims of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which, through its infiltrators in the police and judiciary, sham trials to imprison officers in order to replace them with officers loyal to the terrorist group. The prosecutor of the case said the digital data in the file, which was presented as the key piece of evidence in the case, cannot serve as evidence in the court since an expert report revealed its falsity.
The other three colonels, Aykut Manioğlu, İlker Özkan and Yalçın Özkütük, were targeted in the military espionage case, but the case was also later dismissed similarly to the Sledgehammer case as it was revealed as a FETÖ plot.
Colonel Davut Ala, who putschist soldiers shot seven times during last year's coup attempt, was also promoted to brigadier general at the YAŞ meeting.
During the YAŞ meeting, commanders from the Army, Navy and Air Force were replaced with new generals.
Incumbent Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Yaşar Güler has been appointed as the new Army commander, Vice Administrator Adnan Özbal has been appointed as the new Navy commander and Gen. Hasan Küçükakyüz as the new commander of the Air Force. Six generals and admirals were promoted to higher ranks, with a total of 61 colonels promoted to the rank of general.
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