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{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Use dmy dates |date=__DATE__ |$B= }} Operation Sledgehammer (Turkish Balyoz Harekâtı) is the name of an alleged Turkish secularist military coup plan which reportedly dates back to 2003,<ref name=bal>Balyoz Operation II: Squash Blossoms Article of Prof. Dr. Ihsan Bal, Director of USAK’s Center for Security Studies, published on 31 March 2010; accessed on 12 April 2011</ref> and was allegedly in response to the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) gaining office.

Reports of the alleged plot first surfaced in the liberal Taraf newspaper, which was passed documents detailing alleged plans to bomb two Istanbul mosques and accuse Greece of shooting down a Turkish plane over the Aegean Sea. The plan allegedly was to stir up chaos and justify a military coup. The army said the plans had been discussed but only as part of a scenario-based planning exercise at a military seminar.<ref>Şimdi de Balyoz Melih Aşık in Milliyet of 22 January 2010; accessed on 13 April 2011</ref><ref name="bbc.co.uk">BBC, 29 July 2011, Turkey: Military chiefs resign en masse</ref>

The case was heavily criticised by the political opposition for the alleged involvement of high-ranking bureaucrats and legal officials which were close to the Cemaat Movement, an Islamist movement led by exiled cleric and (then) AKP ally Fethullah Gülen. Numerous legal flaws and improper procedures throughout the case, and the lack of a response by the government also drew concern. This included the case that the original sledgehammer document, claimed to have been produced in 2003, was actually created using Microsoft Word 2007.<ref>http://www.eurasianet.org/node/65959</ref><ref>https://turkeyetc.wordpress.com/category/sledgehammer-trial/</ref> Other irregularities included the alleged forging of signatures of high-ranking military officers, such as that of Chief of General Staff Çetin Doğan.<ref>http://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2014/06/21/col-cicek-gulenlinked-parallel-structure-forged-my-signature</ref><ref>http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yavuz-baydar/turkeys-sledgehammer-case_b_1922062.html</ref>

In 2012 some 300 of the 365 suspects were sentenced to prison terms, while 34 suspects were acquitted. The case is to be appealed.

On June 19, 2014 all the accused were ordered released from prison, pending a retrial, after a finding by the Constitutional Court that their rights had been violated.<ref>http://siyaset.milliyet.com.tr/balyozda-ilk-tahliye/siyaset/detay/1899685/default.htm</ref> The timing of the decision fuelled further accusations regarding the involvement of the Cemaat movement initially, since by 2014 the AKP and Gülen had fallen out with each other. Furthermore, the then-AKP Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan openly accused the Cemaat movement of infiltrating the judiciary following a government corruption scandal, beginning a large-scale operation of either removing or relocating judicial and law enforcement employees.<ref>http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/22/turkish-police-accused-spying-prime-minister-arrested</ref><ref>http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/08/05/uk-turkey-police-detentions-idUKKBN0G50F320140805</ref>

On March 31 2015 all 236 suspects were acquitted after the case’s prosecutor argued that digital data in the files submitted as evidence in the case was fake and did not constitute evidence.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>


Sledgehammer (coup plan) sections
Intro  Plot claims  Arrests  Trial  Comments on the trial  Verdict  Fair trial intervention  Key actors  See also  References  External links  

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{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Use dmy dates |date=__DATE__ |$B= }} Operation Sledgehammer (Turkish Balyoz Harekâtı) is the name of an alleged Turkish secularist military coup plan which reportedly dates back to 2003,<ref name=bal>Balyoz Operation II: Squash Blossoms Article of Prof. Dr. Ihsan Bal, Director of USAK’s Center for Security Studies, published on 31 March 2010; accessed on 12 April 2011</ref> and was allegedly in response to the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) gaining office.

Reports of the alleged plot first surfaced in the liberal Taraf newspaper, which was passed documents detailing alleged plans to bomb two Istanbul mosques and accuse Greece of shooting down a Turkish plane over the Aegean Sea. The plan allegedly was to stir up chaos and justify a military coup. The army said the plans had been discussed but only as part of a scenario-based planning exercise at a military seminar.<ref>Şimdi de Balyoz Melih Aşık in Milliyet of 22 January 2010; accessed on 13 April 2011</ref><ref name="bbc.co.uk">BBC, 29 July 2011, Turkey: Military chiefs resign en masse</ref>

The case was heavily criticised by the political opposition for the alleged involvement of high-ranking bureaucrats and legal officials which were close to the Cemaat Movement, an Islamist movement led by exiled cleric and (then) AKP ally Fethullah Gülen. Numerous legal flaws and improper procedures throughout the case, and the lack of a response by the government also drew concern. This included the case that the original sledgehammer document, claimed to have been produced in 2003, was actually created using Microsoft Word 2007.<ref>http://www.eurasianet.org/node/65959</ref><ref>https://turkeyetc.wordpress.com/category/sledgehammer-trial/</ref> Other irregularities included the alleged forging of signatures of high-ranking military officers, such as that of Chief of General Staff Çetin Doğan.<ref>http://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2014/06/21/col-cicek-gulenlinked-parallel-structure-forged-my-signature</ref><ref>http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yavuz-baydar/turkeys-sledgehammer-case_b_1922062.html</ref>

In 2012 some 300 of the 365 suspects were sentenced to prison terms, while 34 suspects were acquitted. The case is to be appealed.

On June 19, 2014 all the accused were ordered released from prison, pending a retrial, after a finding by the Constitutional Court that their rights had been violated.<ref>http://siyaset.milliyet.com.tr/balyozda-ilk-tahliye/siyaset/detay/1899685/default.htm</ref> The timing of the decision fuelled further accusations regarding the involvement of the Cemaat movement initially, since by 2014 the AKP and Gülen had fallen out with each other. Furthermore, the then-AKP Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan openly accused the Cemaat movement of infiltrating the judiciary following a government corruption scandal, beginning a large-scale operation of either removing or relocating judicial and law enforcement employees.<ref>http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/22/turkish-police-accused-spying-prime-minister-arrested</ref><ref>http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/08/05/uk-turkey-police-detentions-idUKKBN0G50F320140805</ref>

On March 31 2015 all 236 suspects were acquitted after the case’s prosecutor argued that digital data in the files submitted as evidence in the case was fake and did not constitute evidence.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>


Sledgehammer (coup plan) sections
Intro  Plot claims  Arrests  Trial  Comments on the trial  Verdict  Fair trial intervention  Key actors  See also  References  External links  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Plot claims
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