Turkish government resumes mass trial of 221 ‘coup ringleaders’

October 30, 2017 6:29 pm

Picture taken on May 23, 2017 shows Turkish Gendarmerie escorting defendants Akin Ozturk (2L) and others suspected of organizing last July’s attempted coup in as they leave the prison where they are being held, ahead of their trial near Ankara. (Photo by AFP)

Turkey has reopened a mass trial of 221 suspects over their alleged involvement in a failed July 2016 coup against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The hearings, which had begun at the Sincan prison complex near the capital Ankara on May 22, resumed at the facility on Monday.
The prime suspects are alleged members of the so-called Peace at Home Council, a group on whose behalf a coup declaration was read on state television on July 15 last year.
They include Gen. Akin Ozturk, a former air force commander.
Other defendants include US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan aide, who is accused of having masterminded the putsch. Gulen has denied the accusation.
Aside from Gulen, eight other defendants are being tried in absentia.
The charges range from using violence with the aim of overthrowing the government and parliament to killing the nearly 249 people, who died on the night of the coup.
By some estimates, the case constitutes the biggest legal proceedings in the country’s modern history.
Over 140,000 people, including public sector employees, have been sacked or suspended over alleged links to the coup, while 50,000 people have been arrested over similar suspicions.
Erdogan has outraged human rights organizations for what they call a sweeping crackdown on dissent under the guise of patriotism.
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