The İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court on Monday handed down life sentences to 15 defendants for attempting to overthrow the Turkish government with a 2013 police investigation that reached to then-ministers, Turkish media reported.
Former police chiefs Yakub Saygılı, Kazım Aksoy, Yasin Topçu and Nazmi Ardıç were among the convicted defendants as well as US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, a foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
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.
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 with turkishminute.com)