Retired Brig. Gen. Veli Kucuk, who was convicted of founding and heading the clandestine, secularist ultra-nationalist organization known as Ergenekon, received a double aggravated life sentence as well as an additional 99 years and one month in prison.
“People here say that essentially Ergenikon is just a pretense under which the Prime Minister is taking people who he personally does not like and putting them in jail so as to get rid of dissident voices,” RT's Irina Galushko reports from Istanbul.
Critics of the case include the main opposition party, who argue the charges brought against the accused are vague and the trial has dragged on for a suspiciously long period of time. They have further decried the use of anonymous witnesses as unacceptable. Critics of the proceedings have further characterized it as a politically motivated attempt on the part of Ergdogan’s Islamist government to stifle secularist activists in the country.
“This trial has been ridiculous and it ends with the verdict expected from the beginning that will be no surprise for no one. And it will be the end of trust in Erdogan’s government for a lot of people and it also is the end for the judicial system of Turkey,” Yunus Soner, from the Workers Party of Turkey, told RT.
Court hearings concerning the so-called Ergenekon trial have regularly led to violent clashes between the defendants’ supporters and police.
The trial is wrapping up in an already politically volatile climate, as Turkey has witnessed anti-government rallies on a near weekly basis, with the latest having taken place over the weekend. Monday’s verdict is expected to trigger further unrest.
49 years: Lt. Col. Mustafa Dönmez.
47 years: Retired Col. Arif Doğan.
41 years: Retired Maj. Fikret Emek
Life: Workers’ Party leader Doğu Perinçek.
21 years: Workers' Party Press Secretary Hikmet Çiçek.
15 Years: Workers' Party Secretary-General Ferit İlsever
Life: Journalist Tuncay Özkan and lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz.
34 years: Journalist Mustafa Balbay.
22 years: Professor Yalçın Küçük
12 years: Semih Tufan Gülaltay.
10 years: Drug lord Sami Hoştan