163 Officers Arrested in “Sledgehammer” Coup Trial

Turkey’s armed forces chief of staff General Işık Koşaner met with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan at Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace on Saturday in an unscheduled meeting that lasted 45 minutes. It is not known what was discussed, but the meeting occurred just hours after more than a hundred officers were arrested in connection with an alleged coup plot named “Operation Sledgehammer” to overthrow Erdoğan’s government in 2003. 163 active-service and retired officers are on trial and on Friday a court ordered them jailed. Most have been in and out of detention since the case first broke a year ago. The trial was adjourned until March 14. Click here.

…Initially stunned by seeing so many officers put in custody, Turks have become less easily shocked during the course of the drawn out legal battle.

Not all the defendants were in court for Friday’s hearing, and some have yet to be arrested, including retired General Cetin Dogan, former commander of the prestigious First Army…

A Turkish newspaper reported on Sunday that 29 serving generals out of a total 364 were currently jailed in the military’s Hasdal prison in Istanbul.

Defendants deny any conspiracy and say “Sledgehammer” was simply a war game exercise presented at a military seminar.

Prosecutors allege that the plot involved plans to bomb historic mosques and provoke conflict with Greece, as part of a plan to undermine the government and enable a military coup.

18 Responses to “163 Officers Arrested in “Sledgehammer” Coup Trial”

  1. All these accusations became to cheap and cheesy for me. I don’t buy it anymore.

  2. Sledgehammer trial is an utter nonsense and sham. Please, read here the truth about it and what stands behind it:

    http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/democracy-turkey-4857

  3. Hah hah, Dani Rodrik was gonna be the economy minister of the coup regime!.. Very funny. Funnier still, Zaman journalists’ concern for Harvard’s reputation.

  4. Which Ministry did I get? Am I too late to apply, or do you have to be nominated?

  5. More utter nonsense that is utterly depressing:

    Bir gazeteciyi yaptığı haberlerden dolayı beğenmiyorsanız demokratik bir ülkede izleyeceğiniz yol bellidir: Mahkemeye gidip dava açarsınız.

    These are some words uttered by a Turkish journalist while attempting to criticize the treatment OdaTv’s Soner Yalcin received from police. What it says is:

    In a democratic country, if you don’t like a particular journalist because of what he writes, the route to follow should be clear: you sue him.

  6. Can anybody follow up with these cases? It takes an army of prosecutors and lawyers to work on the case, and another army of journalists representing a multiplicity of political interests to report the case as well as a team of professors from the US to understand the case. I do not even know what to make out of these developments anymore. Even the Byzantine games captured on the Turkish TV series seem to be more comprehensible.

  7. Nihat, what you call ‘utter nonsense’ is in line with the general view here wrt. not just the press but freedom of expression in general. What’s worse is that educated classes here — just like you observed above — tell people that this is the way it is everywhere an this is the way it ought to be. We’ve both looked into this so you know how painful it can get. Thanks to the time I sunk into trying to make sense of the bullshit routinely produced by our respected columnists and other visible intellectuals, I can pretty much cite the relevant SCOTUS decisions from memory now. I should add that many of those people claim they want a legal climate similar to the one in the US and apparently the Americans they deal with just play along.

  8. Of course not. The media are expecting you to follow your emotions, and they are hoping that the public opinion will be in favor of their narrative. It is impossible for anyone to consider all the evidence.

  9. (Sorry if this appears multiple times. Somehow, it isn’t going through.)
    .
    Emre gets it right. Here is Radikal’s Oral Calislar speaking (2/15/2011):

    Binlerce sayfalık iddianameler, bir o kadarlık ekler nedeniyle Balyoz davasına teknik olarak hâkim olabilmek, objektif bir hukuki değerlendirme yapmak son derece zor. Bununla birlikte, Balyoz davası, hukuki boyutundan çok, siyasi boyutuyla ilgi gören ve siyasi boyutuyla analiz gerektiren bir dava.
    […]
    Bir sivil mahkemenin ‘darbe’ iddiasıyla onlarca generali, subayı yargılıyor olabilmesinin ne kadar büyük bir dönüşümü ifade ettiğini belirtmeye bile gerek yok. Türkiye’nin bir ‘asker toplumu’ndan bir ‘hukuk toplumu’na dönüşme şansından bile söz etmek artık mümkün.

    Total bs if you ask me.

  10. If you can’t sue the press for things you don’t like try triggering criminal investigations: http://www.zaman.com.tr/haber.do?haberno=1094436
    .
    Zaytung covers the recent controversy best: http://zaytung.com/haberdetay.asp?newsid=82501
    .
    For bakground: http://www.radikal.com.tr/Radikal.aspx?aType=RadikalDetayV3&Date=&ArticleID=1039956&CategoryID=77

  11. RE: the incessant trickle o articles in Today’s Zaman apparently aiming to get Harvard to do something about Dani Rodrik. These fit a view about how universities should work and what they should to to their professors. Our tomato conspiracy detective acts in a manner consistent with that view: http://www.sabah.com.tr/Egitim/2011/02/16/ozcan_sorusturma_acilmasini_istedi
    .
    What I would have liked to have seen is that some other voices making sure that that idea is fully demolished and perhaps even a debate about what exactly we think we are doing by funding so many (Islamic) theology departments which no doubt produce and fund many such academic civil servants. What happens instead is some administrative action or perhaps bullying against the utterer of an — albeit objectionable — idea. We thus [further] legitimize going after holders and spreaders of objectionable ideas and silencing them as opposed to the ideas themselves.

  12. Hans you will make more profit out of Turkey when the accused ones are in charge:) CA asked you a question under another post. Why do not you dare to answer? The accused ones will like you very much:)

  13. On the other hand, there is this allegation (*) that a sexual harassment victim at another university is facing an administrative investigation of her own. Maybe she was dressing provocatively, too. Who knows? Maybe her harassment complaints were ignored because of that.

  14. Nihat as the cabinet minister has apparently said, it would be incorrect to say style of dress is the sole cause for such things. I am not kidding you, she is providing support for the idea (but y’know she implies there are other causes too — only AKP-haters would misconstrue it, %47 %58 blah blah) here: http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/17060960.asp?gid=373

  15. Bulent, may there exist some consolation in that, perhaps, these are imams matching the cemaat, meaning things won’t actually get worse as they continue passing gas? Or, is it the other way around and cause for worry as the proverb warns us?

  16. Here is an original and quite sensible –imo– take on the Sledgehammer case (the subject of the original post):
    http://haber.gazetevatan.com/balyozda-sadece-3-kisi-yargilanmali/360020/1/Gundem

  17. …but it was Ozkok who supposedly stopped the alleged coup. Why don’t we just prosecute the one person we all know to be a genuine coup plotter: Kenan Evren? The hocaefendi tells us he has a place in heaven, so let us at least make him face justice on this side of the grave.

  18. Nihat, yes, I agree. At least the thinking won’t get worse but now that these people are in positions of power it’ll probably take a while for the people to develop the guts to challenge them head-on.
    .
    Osman pasa is also right. Tell this to the ‘liberal’ charlatans (ooo respected people, sorry) who keep manufacturing and relaying lie after lie. This episode just confirms what we (at least I) have suspected, with good reason, about the visible (and recently popular) intelligentsia here — that they are conceited frauds who think they are entitled to manipulate us. And no, I type this while I am in a good mood, ordinarily I have a better selection of — still demonstrably descriptive — words for them.

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