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Convicted coup suspect says he was victim of that night

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A former colonel who was among 29 ex-soldiers sentenced to life in prison for alleged coup involvement in 2016 said he did not participate in the failed attempt but that he was a victim of that night, the OdaTV news website reported.

“Justice sometimes sleeps, but it never dies. I did what a soldier must do that night. We were played, ambushed and dismissed. Long live the country!” Ümit Bak said in his final defense at the Ankara 14th High Criminal Court on Monday.

The defendants were accused of firing guns on people who resisted the attempted coup at Special Forces Command headquarters in Ankara.

Some the defendants asserted that the then-Special Forces Commander Zekai Aksakallı should be blamed for pitting the groups against the other, claiming they had no idea what was going on that night.

Thirteen defendants were acquitted by the court of all charges related to the coup attempt. Turkey survived a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 in which 249 people died and thousands were wounded.

Turkish courts have handed down hundreds of life sentences to suspects allegedly involved in the abortive putsch.

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