Turkey hands aggravated life sentences to 24 for coup

Including to former Air Force commander in key trial

20 June, 14:41

    (ANSA) - ISTANBUL, JUNE 20 - An Ankara court on Thursday gave 24 defendants in a major trial for the 2016 failed bid to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan 141 aggravated life terms.

    Among those on trial was former Air Force Commander Gen. Akin Ozturk, who was considered the head of the coup supporters within the armed forces, and other 16 high-ranking members of the armed forces. Those sentenced to life in prison included Erdogan's former military advisor Ali Yazici. There was a total of 224 on trial in the bunker courtroom of the Sincan prison in Ankara, the country's largest, including 26 former generals. Beginning in May 2017, the trial was over several charges including "violation of the constitution", "using violence to attempt to overthrow" democratic institutions, "attempting to assassinate the president" and the killing of 251, according to state-run news agency Anadolu, as well as "attempted homicide" of an additional 2,735 civilians and security forces. The trial that ended on Thursday is held to be the most important of the 290 started thus far for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, 261 of which have concluded with over 3,000 sentences handed down. The defendants are alleged members of an outlawed network under Fethullah Gulen, a wealthy self-exiled imam living in the US that Ankara believes to have been behind the coup attempt. Gulen, a former staunch ally of Erdogan, has always denied any responsibility. (ANSAmed).

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