Well it has been four years, but we finally have a first-page, in-depth piece on Sledgehammer in the International New York Times that leaves no doubt about the sham nature of the trial:
A series of sensational trials that shook the Turkish military in recent years achieved what many regard as the most important legacy of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s more than a decade in power: sending the army back to its barracks and out of politics.
But now Mr. Erdogan and his advisers are acknowledging what many experts have long said: The trials were a sham. He has reversed himself not because of any pangs of guilt, analysts say, but for the simple reason that the same prosecutors who targeted the military with fake evidence are now going after him.
One document that supposedly laid out the details of a planned coup was discovered by a forensics expert to have been written with a version of Microsoft Office that did not exist at the time of the supposed plot. Some of the officers said to be in the coup-planning meeting were in Israel or England or out at sea. A pharmaceutical company that was to be taken over by the army after the coup was listed under a name it adopted only years later.
Yet all of this — and plenty more dubious evidence — was judged in recent years by a court here as sufficient to convict hundreds of military officers and other officials of conspiracies to overthrow Mr. Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P. But now, facing a sweeping corruption investigation focused on him and his inner circle, a centerpiece of Mr. Erdogan’s strategy to survive politically is to discredit those military trials.
Many of the prosecutors and investigators in both cases are followers of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher who lives in exile in Pennsylvania and whose adherents were once partners in Mr. Erdogan’s governing coalition but are now considered by the government as a ‘‘parallel state’’ to be rooted out through purges of the police and judiciary.
The piece is long, and you should read it to the end (for a good quote from Dani). Here is the pdf of the published version.
(The piece is not yet online on the web site of the New York Times, because it has not appeared yet in the U.S. edition. We will provide the online link as soon as the article comes out in the U.S.)
UPDATE: The piece is published on the front page of the New York Times on February 27, 2014. You can read the online version from here.