An Ankara court has sentenced three suspects to between three and 10 years in prison over their role in a gun attack on the U.S. Embassy last year.
The already arrested suspects Ahmet Çelikten, Osman Gündaş and Gündaş’s boss Ersin Bayram as well as Talip Bora Kılıç, who was previously released pending trial, attended the hearing that took place at the Ankara 32nd High Criminal Court on Nov. 21.
The case concerns an attack on the U.S. Embassy in the capital Ankara on Aug. 20, 2018. Six shots were fired from a moving car at the embassy, with three bullets hitting the iron gate and window wall. There were no casualties in the fleeting attack.
The Ankara governor’s office later issued a statement saying that the suspects Çelikten and Gündaş had confessed to their crime and the car they were driving was registered on Kılıç.
The Turkish government had said that the attack was a “clear provocation” and that foreign diplomats are guests of the country.
The chief judge on Nov. 21 asked the suspects if they had final remarks before the case would be closed. Bayram said that he had taken various roles in the network of the exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, a group that the government refers to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and blames for the July 2016 coup attempt. He said that he had given all the names of the people he knew in the Gülen network to the authorities. Bayram also said that he had no connections to the U.S. Embassy shooting incident.
The suspect Gündaş said that he at one time worked for the now-closed Samanyolu Education Institutions, believed to have links to the Gülen network, but has never been a part of this movement.
After hearing all the suspects’ final words, the court sentenced Bayram to nine years, four months and 15 days in prison and Gündaş to 10 years and seven months on charges of “being a member of an armed terrorist organization,” “undertaking hostile actions in a way to damage political ties with a foreign country” and “possession of unregistered firearm.”
Çelikten on the other hand was handed down a sentence of three years and nine months on charges of “undertaking hostile actions in a way to damage political ties” and “possession of unregistered firearm.”
Kılıç was acquitted of all the charges.