Man behind Cumhuriyet grenade attack kills sister

A man whose grenade attack on the offices of Cumhuriyet newspaper were a centrepiece of a high-profile trial in which hundreds of suspects were accused of plotting to overthrow the Turkish government has admitted to shooting his sister dead after discovering she was in a relationship with his business partner, pro-government newspaper HaberTürk said.

After 260 days on the run, Erhan Timuroğlu told prosecutors he had woken up his sister Ceylan Timuroğlu at their parents’ house on Feb. 28, 2017 and shot her dead after learning that she had been showered with expensive presents by his twice-divorced business partner, who was planning to propose marriage, the newspaper said.

Timuroğlu had already served eight years in prison for throwing a hand grenade at the headquarters of the secularist Cumhuriyet newspaper and in connection to a shooting spree at the Council of State, both in 2006. In both attacks, the culprits were reported as shouting religious slogans.

Together with a stash of weapons discovered in a northern Istanbul slum, these incidents – interpreted by prosecutors as false flag attacks intended on clearing the way for the military to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) – formed the basis for a complex coup narrative that would result in charges against 275 suspects, most of them outspoken secular opponents of the AKP, from 2008 onwards.

Many of these opponents at the time claimed the case, dubbed Ergenekon after a Turkish national origin myth, was a conspiracy against them by the Fethullah Gülen movement, a group of followers of an exile preacher who have since been accused by the Turkish government of complicity in a 2016 failed coup attempt.

Although all existing sentences were annulled and a conspiracy case opened against the prosecutors and judges involved in the initial case, some parts of the case remain ongoing.