Evidence altered in Balyoz case, says expert

An expert report presented in court yesterday in the ongoing “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) probe has indicated a portable flashdisk found in the home of retired Col. Hakan Büyük and used as evidence in court has been tampered with.

An expert report presented in court yesterday in the ongoing “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) probe has indicated a portable flashdisk found in the home of retired Col. Hakan Büyük and used as evidence in court has been tampered with.

A document created and last modified in 2003 in the flashdisk also contains a draft law dated June 15, 2005, the report said.

“This means the date the document was last modified in, [a piece of information] that is included in the meta-data of the computer file containing the digital input, was altered, and that the evidential integrity and reliability of the files have all but disappeared,” said Ufuk Çağlayan, who prepared the report dated Nov. 22.

Çağlayan, a professor at Istanbul’s Bosphorus University department of computer engineering, prepared the five page report upon the request of suspect Büyük’s lawyers Celal Ülgen and Hüseyin Ersöz.

“Information [that is mentioned] in reports prepared at different dates for the same digital media, such as the date [a file] was created on, the date it was last modified or who it was authored by, remains the same unless altered,” Çağlayan said.

The flashdisk found in Büyük’s home in the northwestern province of Eskişehir allegedly contained footage of the Bilvanis Ranch, which was established by a group within the Naqshbandi order, a religious congregation, according to reports.

Scores of high ranking officers, generals and admirals have so far been arrested within the scope of the Balyoz case, including four-star Gen. Bilgin Balanli, the highest ranking suspect in the probe and the former commander of Turkey’s military academies.

Balyoz is an alleged military coup plot against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said to have been set up in 2003. According to allegations, the military planned drastic measures to foment unrest in the country in order to remove the AKP from power. These measures included bombing two major mosques in Istanbul, assaulting a military museum disguised as religious extremists and raising tensions with Greece by attacking a Turkish plane and blaming the incident on the Aegean neighbor.

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