Turkish court gives life sentences to 65 defendants from Naval Forces Command in coup trial

A high criminal court in Ankara has handed down aggravated life sentences to 47 defendants and life sentences to 18 defendants from the Naval Forces Command in a trial concerning the controversial coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

The trial of the 73 defendants involving incidents that took place at the Naval Forces Command in Ankara on the night of July 15 was concluded by the Ankara 13th High Criminal Court on Tuesday. The files of eight defendants, three of whom are at large, were separated from those of the other defendants.

The defendants who were given aggravated life sentences including two rear admirals are accused of seeking to overthrow the constitutional order while the others who received life sentences are accused of violating the Constitution.

The chief suspect in the case was Brig. Adm. İrfan Arabacı, who was serving as deputy director of operations of the Naval Forces Command at the time of the coup attempt. Arabacı was detained after he went into hiding days after the failed coup. Along with him, the prosecutors also indicted Rear Adm. Murat Şirzai.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched a massive crackdown aimed at punishing the coup plotters, as a result of which more than 50,000 people were jailed on coup charges and 150,000 others were fired from state jobs.

In a similar development, another coup trial was also concluded on Monday concerning incidents at the Fenerbahçe Officers Club in İstanbul on the night of the failed coup.

Former Lt. Kayhan Sönmez was given an aggravated life sentence on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and two special sergeants, Recai Yeğen and Faruk Yüksel, were given six years, three months each, while another special sergeant, Fahri Sivri, was given five years, three months on charges of aiding a terrorist organization. Thirty-six privates who stood trial as part of the same proceedings were acquitted by the İstanbul 27th High Criminal Court. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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