In one of the most awaited trials in Turkey, nicknamed the "Sledgehammer Case," the court convicted and sentenced a large number of active and retired Turkish officers accused of trying to foment a coup d'état against the democratically elected Justice and Development Party (AKP). This judgment represents another step in the long process to end the military tutelage system in Turkey. Paradoxically, the generals have only themselves to blame for this outcome.
The trial's serious procedural and evidentiary problems notwithstanding, the verdict is unprecedented in Turkish civil-military relations. Except for a colonel who was convicted of mutiny in the 1960s, Turkish officers and certainly high-ranking generals had never faced a court proceeding for attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, much less for actually doing it as they did in 1960, 1971, 1980 and even as late as 1997.