Turkish officers jailed over alleged coup acquitted

Verdict follows acquittal of 236 other officers accused of plotting to overthrow Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2003.

    Turkish officers jailed over alleged coup acquitted
    The alleged conspiracy happened in 2003 after Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pictured, had come to power [Getty]


    A Turkish court has acquitted the last 62 military officers jailed over an alleged 2003 plot to overthrow the government, after the judge ruled some of the digital evidence as inadmissible.

    In 2012, a court sentenced the officers to jail over the alleged conspiracy dating back to 2003, a year after Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party came to power. Erdogan is now president.

    Last week an Istanbul court acquitted 236 other officers in connection with the alleged plot. Both trials began after the Constitutional Court, the highest in Turkey, ordered a retrial a year ago.

    The Constitutional Court decided that the rights of the suspects were breached in the previous process. The suspects were first convicted in 2012.

    All involved with the case were released pending trial in June 2014 after the Constitutional Court ruling.

    A defence lawyer talking to the Reuters news agency said the digital evidence was rendered useless by major time-based inconsistencies.

    They included a typeface used in documents allegedly dating to 2003 which did not become available in Microsoft Windows until 2007. In addition, a pharmaceuticals company was mentioned in similar documents by a name it did not go by until 2008.

    The alleged plot - named "Sledgehammer" after a wargames scenario the army was studying at the time - was said to include plans to bomb mosques and trigger a conflict with Greece by shooting down one of Turkey's own warplanes, paving the way for a military takeover.

    Officials suggested evidence had been manipulated by the followers of US-based religious leader Fethulah Gulen, who had been using his influence in the police and judiciary to help Erdogan break the army's power.

    Gulen, who has become Erdogan's bitter rival in recent years, denies any involvement in Sledgehammer investigations.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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