Court releases 3 generals, 1 admiral in coup probe

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Detained Turkish soldiers who allegedly took part in a military coup arrive in a bus at the courthouse in Istanbul on July 20, 2016, following the military coup attempt of July 15. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was today to chair a crunch security meeting in Ankara for the first time since the failed coup, with tens of thousands either detained or sacked from their jobs in a widening purge. BULENT KILIC / AFP

An İstanbul court on Friday released three generals and an admiral who were detained as part of investigation into a coup attempt on July 15, the Hurriyet daily reported.

According to the report Maj. Gen. Veli Yıldırım, Brig. Gen. Ali Akyürek, Brig. Gen. Şener Yazıcıoğlu and Rear Adm. Ömer Mesut Ak were released due to a lack of evidence despite suspicions that they cooperated with the coup plotters.

The court decision marked the first release of high-ranking military members as part of the ongoing investigation into the coup attempt of July 15.

Maj. Gen. Yıldırım was forced into retirement by the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ), while Rear Adm. Ak was dismissed from the military under a state of emergency decree.

A total of 3,939 military members have been expelled from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) since the failed coup attempt.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

The Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch.

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

More than 100,000 people have been purged from state bodies, more than 70,000 detained and 34,000 arrested since the coup attempt.

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