An İstanbul prosecutor is seeking aggravated life sentences for 25 defendants on charges of attempting to overthrow the government due to their alleged involvement in a corruption investigation that became public knowledge in December 2013, the Anatolia news agency reported this week.
In December 2013 Turkey was shaken by the revelation of two corruption investigations, on Dec. 17 and 25, in which the inner circle of then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were implicated.
After Erdoğan cast the investigations as a coup attempt to overthrow his government orchestrated by his political enemies, the prosecutors and judges were removed from the case, police were reassigned and the corruption investigations were dropped. Later, the police officers, judges and prosecutors who took part in the investigations were all jailed.
The 114th hearing in the trial of 67 defendants, six of whom are at large and 14 in jail, including former police chiefs Yakub Saygılı, Nazmi Ardıç and Kazım Aksoy, was held at the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court on Thursday.
President Erdoğan, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and former minister Ömer Dinçer are co-plaintiffs in the trial who were represented by their lawyers on Thursday.
The next hearing in the trial was set for March 4.
Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, who was the prime suspect in one of the major corruption investigations, was arrested in Miami in 2016 on charges of evading US sanctions on Iran. Zarrab pleaded guilty in federal court and in a plea deal testified about the plot in 2017 as a witness for the prosecution.
Zarrab testified that Turkey’s then-prime minister Erdoğan personally ordered the resumption of the plot to launder billions of dollars in Iranian oil revenue and circumvent US sanctions, in parallel with the evidence exposed during the 2013 corruption scandals in Turkey. Zarrab also admitted that he bribed Cabinet ministers. (SCF, turkishminute.com)