A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced dozens of people, including former soldiers attached to the Presidential Guard Regiment, to life imprisonment for their involvement in the failed 2016 coup attempt against President Recep’s government. Tayyip Erdogan, state agency Anadolu reported.
A total of 497 defendants have been on trial since 2017 for attempting to seize military headquarters in Ankara, occupy the headquarters of state-owned television station TRT and forcing a TV broadcaster to read a statement on behalf of coup plotters.
The massive lawsuit was one of hundreds of lawsuits against alleged members of a network led by US cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the failed attempt. Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan, denies the accusation.
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The Ankara suburban court sentenced 32 defendants to life imprisonment, including six who received aggravated life sentences without the possibility of parole, Anadolu reported.
Among those sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment are a former lieutenant colonel who forced the presenter to read the press release, a former colonel accused of giving the order to take control of the TRT building and a former major who led a team that tried to take over. military headquarters, the agency said.
The court also sentenced one person to 61 years in prison while 106 defendants were sentenced to terms ranging from six to 16 years. Other defendants have either been acquitted or not given prison terms, Anadolu said.
On July 15, 2016, factions within the Turkish military used tanks, fighter jets and helicopters in an attempt to overthrow Erdogan. Fighter jets bombed Parliament and other places in the Turkish capital. Hearing a call from the president, thousands of people took to the streets to stop the coup.
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A total of 251 people were killed and around 2,200 others were injured. About 35 suspected coup plotters were also killed.
The government has named Gulen’s network a terrorist group, another claim it denies. He lives in the United States.
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