World Bulletin/News Desk
The 297th hearing in the trial regarding the clandestine network Ergenekon, whose alleged members are accused of plotting to overthrow the government, was held on Tuesday with the remaining witnesses submitting their defense testimonies.
In Monday's hearing, all suspects but one said they weren't ready to make a defense statement, but on Tuesday three of the defendants testified. Former Red Crescent (Kızılay) inspector Kemal Aydın testified in the morning and Republican People's Party (CHP) deputies Mustafa Balbay and Sinan Aygün -- who is standing trial while outside custody -- were expected to make their defense statements in the afternoon.
The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court is hearing the trial. CHP deputies Balbay and Mehmet Haberal, retired Gen. Veli Küçük, journalist Tuncay Özkan and 2006 Council of State shooting hitman Alparslan Arslan were at the courtroom, along with 31 other suspects who have been in custody since their arrest.
Of the four defendants who are not under arrest as part of the trial, two of them -- academic and journalist Yalçın Küçük and mafia leader Sami Hoştan -- stood together with the defendants in a stand allocated for those suspects in custody. Küçük and Hoştan are under arrest in different trials.
Thirty suspects in custody were not present in the courtroom on Tuesday. These include retired Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, Gen. Nusret Taşdeler, retired generals Hurşit Tolon, Hasan Iğsız, Levent Ersöz and Workers' Party (İP) leader Doğu Perinçek.
Defendant Kemal Aydın started his statement by offering his condolences to the families of the victims in the Reyhanlı attack. He also criticized an earlier decision from the court that shortened the time allocated for defense statements, saying this is an infringement of the right to a fair trial.
Aydın claimed that former National Intelligence Agency (MİT) Undersecratary Şenkal Atasagun was responsible for his being accused of being an Ergenekon member. He said the main organizational chart of the Ergenekon organization was put together during the time when Atasagun was in office, and it was drawn in accordance with statements from Ergenekon suspect Tuncay Güney, who is currently at large. He requested the court to hear Güney and Atasagun and denied the accusations that he participated in the founding and administering of a terrorist group leveled against him.Last Mod: 15 Mayıs 2013, 09:41