Turkey sentenced to life imprisonment of 24 people for the attempt on Erdogan
In total, about 290 lawsuits concerning state coups were instituted
/NOVOSTIVL/ A Turkish court on Thursday handed down life sentences to 24 people, including senior military officers, in one of the biggest trials over the 2016 failed bid to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post.
The judge handed 17 of those sentenced 141 aggravated life terms each over the deaths of 139 people, for "violating the constitution" and "attempting to assassinate the president", state news agency Anadolu reported.
More sentences are expected to be handed down on Thursday against others among the 224 suspects on trial.
Former air force chief Akin Ozturk and Mehmet Disli, the brother of former ruling party lawmaker Saban Disli, who since September has served as Turkey’s ambassador to the Netherlands, were among the 17.
One suspect, Lieutenant Colonel Levent Turkkan, who was the aide to then Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar, was given one aggravated life sentence, Anadolu reported. Akar was appointed defence minister in July 2018.
There was a tense atmosphere minutes before the judge issued his verdicts with dozens of people including relatives of those killed during the coup bid in July 2016, lambasting the court for not allowing them to enter.
The court also handed down an aggravated life sentence for "violating the constitution" to Colonel Ali Yazici, Erdogan’s former military aide, Anadolu reported. Yazici was already sentenced to 18 years in jail in 2017 after a trial of dozens who plotted to assassinate Erdogan at a luxury Aegean hotel during the coup attempt.
Former Brigadier General Gokhan Sahin Sonmezates, who was suspected of leading the assassination attempt against Erdogan on the night of the coup bid, was given 137 aggravated life sentences and a 540-year prison sentence, Anadolu said.
The failed overthrow left 248 people dead, according to the Turkish presidency, not including 24 coup-plotters killed on the night.
Dozens of those on trial were accused of being members of the "Peace At Home Council", the name the plotters apparently gave themselves on the night of the coup attempt.
Since July 2016, tens of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to the coup bid under a two-year state of emergency which ended last year.