Dozens of Turkey coup plot suspects on trial in Istanbul

January 23, 2017 7:50 pm

Turkish special forces stand guard at the entrance of the courthouse on January 23, 2017 at Silivri district in . (Photo by AFP)

has put on trial dozens of military staff, including officers and soldiers, over their alleged involvement in the last July failed military coup.
The hearing for a total of 62 suspects opened at a court in Silivri District on the outskirts of Istanbul on Monday. Among the suspects were 28 security officers and 34 army privates.
Prosecutors said the defendants attempted to seize control of Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen International Airport on the night of the coup, when a faction of rogue elements in the Turkish army had sought to topple the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey’s Anadolu agency reported that the suspects were accused of crimes against the country and were facing life imprisonment.
The news agency went on to say that the charges also included use of force to try to destroy constitutional order, and incapacitate the Turkish parliament and government.
Some of the suspects, if convicted, are facing up to a 15-year jail term for “voluntarily or deliberately aiding the group although they are not members of the armed terror organization”, it added.
Earlier this month, a court in the city of Erzurum in eastern Turkey issued the first final verdict on the suspects allegedly involved in the failed coup, sentencing two army officers to life in jail.

A tank crushes a car as people take to the streets in Ankara, Turkey, during a protest against an attempted military coup on July 16, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The government in Ankara has launched a sweeping crackdown on those believed to have played a role in the attempted putsch.
It has arrested over 35,000 people and sacked over 100,000 others over suspected links to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Turkish cleric that Ankara accuses of having masterminded the coup attempt. Gulen rejects the charge.
Meanwhile, the Turkish government has established a seven-person committee to review objections in cases relating to the mass dismissals and closures across the country’s institutions in the wake of the abortive coup.
“If some wrong decisions were taken, it is an effective internal judicial procedure, and we believe that it will be run objectively,” Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said.
Turkey is currently under a state of emergency.
Turkish officials say over 240 people were killed and more than 2,100 others injured in the coup attempt.
Tens of thousands of people, including military personnel, judges and teachers, have been suspended, dismissed or detained as part of the post-coup crackdown.
International rights groups argue that Ankara’s crackdown has gone far beyond the so-called Gulenists and targeted Kurds as well as government critics in general.
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