Turkey sentences hundreds of coup ringleaders

President Recep Erdogan
Turkish President, Recep Erdogan Facts on Turkey

A Turkish court on Thursday handed down heavy verdicts to over 220 suspects in one of the biggest mass trials relating to the 2016 failed coup attempt.

The court sentenced 17 top former military officers to 141 life terms, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The accused were charged with “violating the Constitution,” using “coercion and violence in an attempt to overthrow parliament and the Turkish government,” attempting to assassinate the president in July 2016 in which 251 people were killed, said the report.

The trial was held in the country’s largest courtroom inside a prison complex in Sincan, a suburb of capital Ankara, specially built for the coup-related trials.

A total of 26 military generals, including former air force commander Akin Ozturk, and former general Mehmet Disli were among those on trial who were handed life prison sentences. They were accused of being the leaders of the botched coup.

Of the suspects, 176 are already in jail, 35 have been freed pending trial, and 13, including U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, have been declared fugitives.

Ankara accuses Gulen of orchestrating the putsch and demands his extradition.

Thousands of coup suspects have been arrested, tried or sentenced in a massive crackdown following the 2016 coup attempt.



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