Turkey: Hundreds face life imprisonment | Free press

Four and a half years ago, parts of the military in Turkey staged a coup d’état against the Erdogan government. The revolt was crushed. Hundreds of suspects are now being convicted.

Istanbul (AP) – More than four years after the coup attempt in Turkey, a court in the capital Ankara has handed down convictions against hundreds of those involved.

A total of 337 people were sentenced to life imprisonment, the state news agency Anadolu reported Thursday. Another 60 would have received prison sentences between 6 and nearly 17 years. In the main trial 475 people were charged, including leaders. All convicts were involved in the night of the coup d’état around Akinci air base. From there it was guided. 70 people were acquitted.

The court sentenced, among other things, to 79 times life imprisonment under difficult circumstances for “attempted coup”, “assassination attempt on the president” and “deliberate murder”. Senior military officials, pilots and civilians were among those convicted.

On the evening of July 15, 2016, sections of the military had staged a coup d’état against Erdogan’s government. In Istanbul and the capital Ankara, there were clashes between putschists and security forces loyal to the state. The putschists used tanks and fighter jets, including firing at civilians who opposed them, after a call from Erdogan. The parliament building in Ankara was also shot at. Akinci Air Force Base near the capital was an important base for the subversives on the night of the coup. More than 250 people died and 2,000 were injured. The rebellion was eventually crushed.

For example, pilots who allegedly bombed the parliament and the police station at night received maximum fines. Four men the court planned to kill the president were also sentenced to 79 life sentences. The trial began on August 1, 2017.

Turkey blames US-based minister Fethullah Gülen for the coup attempt. Gülen rejects that. Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said Thursday, according to the news agency, that to date 292,000 people have been arrested in operations against the Gülen movement and 96,000 have been arrested. The search for those involved has been ongoing since 2016.

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