The six defendants were previously sentenced to life in prison on charges of aiding FETÖ plotters and attempting to overthrow the constitution. They had appealed to the high court for their release, but Istanbul’s 2nd Appeal Court upheld their sentence in February 2018.
Ilıcak and the Altan brothers, who were fierce advocates for the terrorist group, are accused of calling for the coup to take place and of intimate ties with the putschists and senior figures of the terrorist group. Two days before the coup attempt, the three suspects were discussing a potential coup on a TV show. Ilıcak later defended the program by saying that the TV show did not imply any coup.
Ilıcak, a staple of Turkish media for decades, had been a staunch defender of FETÖ in her later years, claiming it was not a terrorist organization. She defended the group all the way up until the coup attempt. In her first testimony after her arrest, Ilıcak said she had realized FETÖ was a terrorist group.
Once approving of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) policies against the military’s dominance in Turkish politics, the liberal-leaning Altan brothers, sons of prominent left-wing journalist Çetin Altan, became fierce critics of the government in later years, often appearing on Gülenist TV channels.
The now-defunct Taraf was known as a mouthpiece for Gülenists both during the time of the notorious sham trials, including the Ergenekon and Balyoz coup plot cases targeting officers of the Turkish Armed Forces, perpetrated by the infiltrators of the terror group in the judiciary and police and after the state launched a crackdown on Gülenists in 2013.
The terrorist group is accused of masterminding the foiled coup attempt with the aid of its infiltrators in the military who allegedly carried out a plan personally approved by Fetullah Gülen, the U.S.-based leader of the terrorist group.