Turkey coup: 74 people sentenced to life imprisonment

Erdogan (1)

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

A court in Ankara on Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment 74 suspects, including former helicopter pilots, over their alleged role in the failed 2016 coup by a faction in the military.

The court case was brought against 152 people allegedly involved in the coup attempt on the night of July 15, 2016, according to state news agency Anadolu.

Some of the pilots are accused of having carried out helicopter attacks on the presidential palace, the parliament and the police headquarters in Ankara.

The government says the coup attempt was executed outside the chain of command.

According to the charges Hulusi Akar, then-military chief-of-staff, was taken hostage and brought to the former presidential palace in Cankaya district during the coup attempt.

Pilot Ugur Kapan, who is accused of taking Akar, now Turkish defence minister, to Cankaya, was handed 29 aggravated life sentences, in which tougher jail conditions are imposed.

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He separately received 3,932 years in prison.

The court handed 45 people sentences up to 18 years in prison, while 31 were acquitted.

Two are still being tried.

The government blames U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for orchestrating the abortive putsch, which left over 250 people dead.

Over 30,000 people are in jail in Turkey, accused of having links to Gulen, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in April.

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