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Today brings the news that another 28 soldiers will stand trial in the so-called Balyoz, or Sledgehammer case. Here is how it is being reported:
The first trial in the case had opened in December with 196 defendants, among them senior commanders. Most of them remain in prison. The investigation, the toughest challenge yet to the once-omnipotent Turkish military, has landed some 30 generals, or about a tenth of the total, in jail, humbling the army after its ouster of four governments in the past.
The case however has been marred by serious doubts over the authenticity of some implicating documents, fueling mistrust between the army and government. Prosecutors argue the coup plan was drawn up and discussed shortly after the Justice and Development Party, the offshoot of a banned Islamist movement, came to power in November 2002 amid fears it would undermine Turkey’s secular system.
I’m guessing the latest arrests are not being reported at all in the US–Americans are preoccupied with other things.
In these videos I’m speaking to Merve Karabulut, the daughter of a retired admiral who is now in prison. She’s well aware that her insistence that her father is innocent won’t carry much weight: Who would ever maintain that her own father is guilty, after all?
But she’s not really asking anyone to believe that her father is innocent. She’s asking people to pay attention to questions she and other relatives of the defendants have raised about this trial–the answers to which they can quickly and easily confirm independently. That’s the key point: People can look into these questions themselves. They don’t need to take her word for it. Journalists can attend the trial and so can anyone else. Here’s information about the bus to take and the schedule. Anyone can go and watch and see for him or herself what this trial looks like.
Here’s what she says about the length of time her father may legally be detained without being convicted of anything.
She’s saying it’s ten years. Is that coup-plotting propaganda or an independently confirmable fact? Easy: Independently confirmable fact.
Here’s what she’s saying about her father’s lifestyle:
Is that coup-plotting propaganda or an independently confirmable fact? Neither. It’s what you’d expect a daughter to say. It’s irrelevant, legally speaking.
Here’s what she’s saying about the anomalies in the evidence:
Is this coup-plotting propaganda or independently confirmable fact? Check for yourself: Is there any way a suspect could have been on the TCG Alanya in 2002? When did Burhan Durcan and Nevzat Hilmi Sertel die? Google their names. You don’t have to take her word for it. You’d pretty much have to argue that they faked their own deaths to explain that one away.
Here she is describing how she feels:
Is that coup-plotting propaganda or an independently confirmable fact? Neither. It’s irrelevant, legally speaking.
The families are petitioning for the trial to be broadcast on the radio or television. They think it speaks for itself.
Is that coup-plotting propaganda or just a reasonable idea?
I sometimes speak to people in Turkey who are perfectly willing to say that this trial stinks, but who still maintain that it’s a good thing, because it “humbles the army.”
But why exactly did they want the army humbled? Wasn’t it because they wanted an end to the era of coups, arbitrary detentions, and kangaroo courts?
I mean, unless you enjoy humbling the army for the fun of it, which would be kind of sick, given that these are men who have sacrificed their lives to keep your country safe, I sure don’t see that you’ve otherwise changed the situation much. New persecutors, new victims, but definitely the same old Turkey and the same old sad story.
My heart goes out to her. I have a Pop, too.Published in