Life sentences handed down to 6 military members in İstanbul coup trial

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A court in İstanbul sentenced six member of the military to life in prison in a trial of soldiers who attacked Turkey’s fixed-line operator Türk Telekom building in İstanbul’s Gayrettepe neighborhood during a failed coup last year.

According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, the İstanbul 24th High Criminal Court handed down convictions to six soldiers and acquitted seven others.

The court gave aggravated life sentences to former Col. Nurullah Zeki Atmaca and Lt. Col. Birol Keskinkılıç and life sentences to former Lt. Col. Cem Doygun, noncommissioned officers Muhammet Mustafa Çelik and Serdar Uzel, and Spc. Sgt. Murat Karataş for attempting to destroy the constitutional order.

Noncommissioned officer Uğur Alpay and privates İzzet Uğur Alp, Emre Aslan, Sinan Aslan, Fatih Özbek, Cengiz Taşhan and Kadir Kars were acquitted.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan 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.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

According to a tally by TurkeyPurge.com, over 146,000 people, including some 10,000 soldiers, have been dismissed from government jobs, more than 127,000 detained and almost 57,000 arrested over coup charges.

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