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2 officers receive aggravated life sentences in first convictions of coup trials

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Two military officers in the eastern province of Erzurum have been handed down aggravated life sentences on charges of plotting a coup.

The convictions of the military officers are the first convictions in the trial of individuals who have been jailed over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement, and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

There was no reduction in sentence for good conduct granted to Staff Col. Murat Koçak and Staff Maj. Murat Yılmaz by the Erzurum court.

The names of the military officers are reportedly mentioned in the lists of military commanders prepared by the coup plotters.

More than 115,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 90,000 detained and over 39,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.


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