Convictions for occupying a state broadcaster and forcing presenters to read a statement.
A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced 22 former soldiers to life in prison for their roles in a failed 2016 attempt to impeach President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In its latest mass trial of suspects whose failure to dismiss Erdogan was followed by political repression and mass arrests, an Ankara court investigated the role of 497 former soldiers, including operatives of the presidential guard.
the coup attempt included a raid on Turkey’s main state television broadcaster, whose presenter was forced to read a statement by military leaders.
One of the president’s lawyers gave the AFP news agency a document showing the judge imprisoning 22 former high-ranking military personnel for life.
These included former Lieutenant-Colonel Umit Gencer, who was found guilty of “violating the constitutional order” by having a “coup d’etat” read on TRT television.
The court also handed ex-Major Fedakar Akca an aggravated life sentence for leading a team from the regiment to the general headquarters overnight, state news agency Anadolu reported.
Former Colonel Muhammet Tanju Poshor was convicted of leading the occupation of the TRT building, he added.
An aggravated life sentence has harsher detention times and replaced the death penalty after its abolition in 2004.
Another ex-major, Osman Koltarla, was then in charge of the security of the presidential palace. The court sentenced him to life imprisonment.
Ankara Final Trial
The verdict was read in the country’s largest courtroom, which was built to hear the coup trials at the Sincan prison complex in Ankara province.
The case in the regiment began in October 2017, with 243 hearings, the Anadolu agency said. The end of the trial marks the end of the cases heard in the capital almost five years later.
In an unprecedented legal process, thousands of people have been sentenced to life imprisonment in trials across Turkey, with indictments spanning thousands of pages and lawyers working painstakingly on deals.
No less than 248 people died in the failed coup, excluding 24 coup plotters killed overnight.
Turkey accuses US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah gulen to organize the coup, an assertion he strongly denies.
Tens of thousands of people have been arrested for alleged links to Gulen since 2016, and police raids continue to this day.
More … than 100,000 were sacked or suspended from the public sector for similar allegations.
“ Political coup ”
The aftermath of the coup attempt transformed all aspects of contemporary Turkish politics, with Erdogan becoming particularly sensitive to the role of the military in the country’s political life.
Earlier this week, he accused 104 retired admirals of “alluding to a political coup»After having criticized his plans for a new canal in Istanbul in an open letter. Ten of the former admirals were detained as part of an investigation into their open letter.
Turkey has been condemned by its Western allies and rights groups for the crackdown, purges and erosion of judicial independence following the failed coup in July 2016.
Critics accuse the government of using the incident as a pretext to silence the opposition in the country.
Erdogan’s government says the purges and detentions comply with the rule of law and aim to remove Gulen’s supporters from state institutions and other parts of society.