ANKARA: A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced 22 ex-servicemen to life in prison for their role in a failed attempt to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a lawyer told AFP. ۔
The latest large-scale trial of the suspects, who failed to oust Erdogan, was followed by a massive political crackdown and arrests, an Ankara court has ruled. The role of 497 veterans, including members, was investigated.
The attempt included a raid on Turkey’s main state television, whose newscaster was forced to read statements by military junta leaders.
A lawyer for the president provided a document to AFP showing that the judge had sentenced 22 former military personnel to life in prison. They included former Lieutenant Colonel Umt Gainesar, who was convicted by TRT television of “violating a constitutional order” by reading the “Declaration of Rebellion”.
The court also sentenced former Major Fidakar Ika to life in prison for sending a team from the regiment to staff headquarters at night, according to state news agency Anadolu. It further said that former Colonel Mehmood Tanju Posher had received his sentence for instructing him to occupy the TRT building.
An elderly man has strict prison terms and was commuted to death in 2004 after his death sentence was abolished.
Another former major, Usman Kultarla, was in charge of security at the presidential palace at the time. The court also sentenced him to life imprisonment.
The ruling was read out in the country’s largest courtroom, specifically designed to hear sedition cases in Ankara’s Sinkin prison complex. The trial in the regiment began in October 2017, with 243 hearings, the state news agency reported. According to Anadolu, the end of the trial marks the end of nearly five years of hearings in the capital.
In an extraordinary legal process, thousands of people have been sentenced to life in prison with thousands of pages of convictions spread across the country, and lawyers have worked hard in cases.
The failed coup killed 248 people, except for 24 that night.
Turkey accuses US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gینlen of plotting a failed coup, a claim he strongly denies. Thousands have been arrested since 2016 for alleged links to Glenn, and police raids continue today. More than 100,000 people have been fired or suspended from the public sector under similar charges.