Twenty-six suspects appeared before the judge, including journalists Tuncay Özkan and Mustafa Balbay. Former Başkent University Rector Professor Mehmet Haberal, former İnönü University Rector Professor Fatih Hilmioğlu and retired Gen. Levent Ersöz did not attend.
This was the 84th hearing of the trial, which is based on the second and third indictments in the Ergenekon investigation.
Judges cross-examined Lt. Mehmet Ali Çelebi over his contacts with the Ergenekon terrorist organization. The lieutenant argued that he was being tried as part of the investigation into Ergenekon because he is a supporter of the ideas of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkish Republic.
Prosecutor Nihat Taşkın objected and asked him to stop arguing that prosecutors see anything related to Atatürk as an evidence of a crime. Çelebi argued that it was because documents related to Ergenekon were found in his home during a police search last year, some of which featured the pictures and writings of Atatürk. According to Çelebi, he was arrested because he possessed documents that mentioned Atatürk.
The Ergenekon trial started in June 2007 with the discovery of hand grenades at a house in İstanbul’s Ümraniye district.
Dozens of suspects, including members of the military, businessmen and journalists have so far been arrested for suspected links to the terrorist organization.