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Turkey’s Ergenekon Verdicts: Justice or Vengeance?

After a case that lasted five years, more than 250 Turkish defendants were charged with belonging to "Ergenekon" and plotting an overthrow of the Erdogan government and were sentenced to, in some cases, life in prison. 
A protester pushes into Turkish soldiers during clashes near Silivri, where a hearing on people charged with attempting to overthrow Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist-rooted government is due to take place August 5, 2013. A Turkish court on Monday sentenced a former military commander to life in prison and dozens of others including opposition members of parliament to long terms for plotting against the government, in a case that has exposed deep divisions in the country. Retired military chief of st

Draconian sentences were handed out by a special court in Istanbul on Aug. 5 to a large number of well-known personalities, including high-ranking military officers, journalists, academics, lawyers, politicians, elected deputies and former security personnel. In a highly controversial case that lasted five years, most of the more than 250 defendants were charged with plotting to overthrow the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan by illegal means.

Those sentenced were also accused of being members of a terrorist organization allegedly called “Ergenekon,” the name of a legendary Central Asian valley where ultra-nationalist lore has Turks originating from. The case was opened in 2008 after 27 hand grenades were seized in the home of a non-commissioned officer the previous year.

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