Monday, June 9, 2008

More on Turkish coup diary

An intriguing story about how a diary revealed plans for two military coups in Turkey (blog 14 May) has resurfaced in the Turkish newspapers. Alper Görmü, the newspaper editor that published extracts from the diary, was taken to court but then acquitted. Now a court prosecutor, Süleyman Aydın, has appealed against the acquittal so as to allow Görmü to prove his allegations about the planned coups.

Görmü was the editor-in-chief of the Turkish newsweekly Nokta (until it closed down) which published excerpts from a diary allegedly written by a former navy commander, Özden Örnek. The excerpts gave details of how Turkey narrowly escaped two military coups in 2004. Örnek himself was one of the coup plotters. He denied having written the diary entries and claimed they had been libelously attributed to him. During the course of the legal case against Görmü, it was proven that the diaries did originate from Örnek’s computer. At the time of his acquittal, Görmü and others expressed serious concern about the fact that there was to be no investigation of the coup plotters.

Now, though, with Aydın’s appeal the allegations look set to be investigated further. Bianet quotes Aydın: ‘According to these arrangements, when there is public good in clarifying particulars of an accusation, the accused has the right to prove his/her allegations. It is clear that there is public good in proving the incident that is the subject of our case and therefore the accused has the right to prove his allegations. . .’

And Today Zaman quotes Görmü himself: ‘We wanted a chance to prove our claims. A path to proving them was blocked with my acquittal, so we were getting ready to appeal that decision. Now, with the prosecutor’s initiative as well, I’m glad to see that there is an open path to getting justice.’

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