Turkey coup bid: 141 life terms for 16 army officers
A Turkish court on Thursday handed out 141 life sentences to 16 former senior members of the armed forces for their role in the failed 2016 coup.
Judges at the Ankara court found defendants guilty of "violating the Constitution" by "conspiring to destroy constitutional order" and "leading an armed group" and other charges.
One of the convicts was Akin Ozturk, a former four-star general in the Turkish armed forces, according to Hurriyet daily.
Others facing the trial included Sinan Surer, a commander accused of firing at civilians during the coup, and Mehmet Digli, a former general who informed the head of the armed forces of the attempted military overthrow.
Another 162 soldiers were given life sentences for their involvement in the coup attempt, Efe news reported. Charges were dropped against 33 soldiers, although Ugur Kizilca, lawyer for the victims of the coup, said he would appeal the decision.
The sentence was part of a macro trial against 224 soldiers accused of attempting to seize power on July 15, 2016. The unrest that night in major Turkish cities, like Ankara and Istanbul, led to death of 240 people, according to Turkish officials.
In the aftermath of the attempted coup, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan clamped down on major institutions, dismissing and detaining thousands of members of the armed forces and civil services.
Ankara has accused the exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen of masterminding the putsch and has asked the US, where he lives, to hand him over to Turkish officials. Turkey has, however, not filed the official extradition request. He will be the subject of a forthcoming trial along with 13 other defendants.
Western leaders have accused Erdogan of leading a purge against the public institutions and of abusing national state of emergency, which was issued in the aftermath.
An estimated 130,000 civil servants have been fired and around 80,000 accused of having links to Gülen. Gülen's network was once closely associated with Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) until around 2013 when they became embroiled in a power struggle. IANS