Turkish court acquits all suspects in Ergenekon trial

The 235 suspects in the high-profile trial of an alleged clandestine terrorist organization nested in the Turkish state were acquitted of all charges on Monday, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The Ergenekon case was one of a series of investigations targeting high-ranking military personnel, politicians, journalists and civil society figures accused of forming an armed organized crime empire and using their influence to attempt to overthrow Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

With the acquittal of the suspects ends a saga that has deeply and irrevocably changed Turkish history, causing deep rifts between the country’s social groups that have allowed the AKP to consolidate its power.

Hundreds of high-profile suspects – mostly secularists – were rounded up and placed in pre-trial detention for years in the Ergenekon trial, which began in 2008, and other, similar cases.

At the time, the trials were lauded by press in Turkey and abroad as a blow to the secular military officers who had guided Turkish politics for decades. As prime minister at the time, Turkey’s current president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, expressed his support for the investigations, calling himself “the prosecutor of the trial”.