Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that he would agree to the retrials of hundreds of army officers who were jailed for plotting a coup against his 11-year rule.
Before setting off for an Asian tour, Erdogan told journalists in Istanbul that, “Our position on a retrial is favourable.” He went on: “First, we must establish the legal grounds for a fresh trial.”
Without offering much detail, he said that he hoped to obtain the parliament’s support for the process.
Last weekend, Erdogan met the head of the Union of Bar Associations, Metin Feyzioglu, who had submitted proposals in favour of the jailed officers. Erdogan reported that the meeting was positive and he asked the justice minister to deal with the issue.
The measure came after the military command requested a review of the mass trials that led to hundreds of army officers being imprisoned in 2012 and 2013 based on the argument that some of the evidence against the officers was fabricated.
Meanwhile, a huge corruption scandal has hit Erdogan’s government, dragging three ministers down. Turks are currently preparing for general elections slated to take place in March.
Erdogan’s camp accuses the self-exiled Turkish religious scholar Fethullah Gulen of fabricating the corruption scandal against the government. Erdogan has also called the corruption investigation a plot by the internal and external enemies of Turkey.
The prime minister has started a six-day tour of Asia, where he will visit Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. His aim is to boost trade ties and cooperation.