Active duty officers testify as part of coup investigation

August 22, 2011, Monday/ 17:36:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

A group of active duty military officers arrived at İstanbul Courthouse in Beşiktaş on Monday to testify as part of an ongoing investigation into the Sledgehammer coup plot.

The officers, Col. Bora Oğurdu, Col. Levent Kerim Uça and Col. Murat Özden and a retired colonel whose name was not revealed, were questioned by prosecutor Hüseyin Ayar. The Sledgehammer coup plot was allegedly developed with the aim of ousting the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government through acts of violence.

In the meantime, the 40th hearing of the Sledgehammer trial, with 154 suspects including several retired force commanders, was held at the İstanbul 10th High Criminal Court on Monday. In his defense, one of the jailed suspects, Rear Adm. Cem Aziz Çakmak, made threatening statements while claiming the collapse of the case.

“I think this case, which is based on fake digital data, has collapsed. You can keep us under the wreckage of this collapsing case for a little longer but the real question is who will be left under the rubble at the very end,” he said.

According to the Sledgehammer plot, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had a systematic plan to create chaos in society by bombing mosques and attacking popular museums. The desired result being to increase pressure on the AK Party government with a perceived failure to provide security for its citizens. The attacks were intended to eventually lead to a military coup. The plan was drawn up in 2003 and discussed during a seminar at the General Staff’s Selimiye Barracks in March that year. Dozens of retired and active duty military officers have been detained during the ongoing investigation. The Sledgehammer plan was included in the third indictment prepared in the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network charged with plotting to overthrow the government.

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