Turkey court jails officers over 2016 coup plot

(BBC) – A court in Turkey has given life sentences to dozens of defendants in one of the biggest trials linked to the 2016 coup attempt.

Air force pilots and army commanders were among the nearly 500 defendants accused of trying to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
They allegedly directed the plot from the Akinci air base near Ankara.
Mr Erdogan says US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen masterminded the plot, which led to mass arrests.
Mr Gulen has denied any involvement in the attempted coup in July 2016 that killed 251 people and injured more than 2,000. Mr Erdogan was on vacation at the time at a resort.
Thousands of civilians rallied in support of Mr Erdogan in a night of turmoil, confronting rogue soldiers and preventing the plotters from seizing power.
The trial began in August 2017, and the charges include attempting to kill President Erdogan and to seize key state institutions.
Officers who conspired against Mr Erdogan seized aircraft at the Akinci base, taking then chief of staff Gen Hulusi Akar and some other officers hostage.
The indictment states that 25 pilots in F-16s bombed targets in Ankara, including parliament, which was hit three times, as well as key security buildings. The bombing killed 68 people in Ankara and injured more than 200.

Twenty-five of those in the dock are generals and 10 are civilians. More than 10 of the military officers – including F-16 fighter pilots – and four civilians got 79 life sentences each.

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