Turkish court begins trial for Buyukada terror suspects
Giriş: 25.10.2017 14:50:47 - Güncelleme:

Turkish court begins trial for Buyukada terror suspects

The first hearing for 11 terror suspects – who were arrested in a police raid during a meeting on Buyukada Island off Istanbul in July – began on Wednesday.


Prosecutors seek up to a 15-year-jail-term for the suspects, who were accused of being members of and aiding an armed terror organization.


All of the suspects, including Amnesty International Turkey Director Idil Eser, Amnesty International Turkey Chairman Taner Kilic and German national Peter Frank Steudtner, attended the hearing held at Istanbul’s Caglayan Courthouse.


Mustafa Yeneroglu, deputy of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and chair of the committee on human rights inquiry of Turkish Parliament, Garo Paylan, Istanbul deputy of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP), Ozcan Mutlu, a Turkish-German politician, and a number of international journalists witnessed the court proceedings.


The indictment by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office seeks a jail term of 7.5 to 15 years for the suspects including Kilic -- who had allegedly communicated with senior Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) figures abroad through the ByLock smartphone messaging app, an encrypted software used by FETO members before and during a deadly coup attempt last year.


Kilic was remanded in custody on June 10 in Izmir province, western Turkey.


Kilic's brother-in-law, Mehmet Kamis, was serving as the deputy chief editor of the now defunct Zaman newspaper, owned by FETO, and is currently at large, the indictment reads.


FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and some 2,200 injured.


Turkey accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.


According to the indictment, a secret meeting was organized on Buyukada, one of Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands, during which illegal activities were discussed.


The suspects were allegedly planning provocative events meant to fuel unrest across Turkey similar to the 2013 Gezi Park protests.


The suspects' WhatsApp messages over their attendance to the meeting as well as their posts on social media and links to the terrorist organizations were also included in the indictment.


According to the indictment, one of the suspects warned the other participants of the meeting to shut off phones and laptops, saying in a whatsapp message, “Your first homework is to shut all your technological tools off before boarding the ferry [taking them to Buyukada].”


“… You shall not turn them on until you will enter the hotel,” the suspect adds.


Among a set of materials seized during a police raid and body search of Eser, some documents were found related to Semih Ozakca and Nuriye Gulmen, who were arrested for allegedly being members of a terrorist organization, the far-left group DHKP-C, the indictment reads.


Amnesty International has denied the charges and has called for immediate release of its staff, which it says was attending a routine training event on the island.


Anadolu Agency

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