Turkish courts sentence 106 military personnel to aggravated life imprisonment over July 15 coup attempt

Turkish courts sentenced 106 military personnel on Monday to aggravated life imprisonment over their alleged involvement in a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

An İzmir court on Monday handed down aggravated life sentences to 104 of 137 suspects for their alleged role in the failed coup, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Meanwhile, four military officers have been given heavy jail terms over their alleged involvement in the coup attempt. The suspects were convicted of alleged involvement in the incidents at the 5th Armored Brigade of the Turkish Armed Forces in Gaziantep during the coup attempt.

Brig. Gen. Murat Soysal and Lt. Col. Hakan Çınar were given aggravated life sentence on the charge of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order. Another officer Lt. Col. Metin Gültekin, was handed down 18 years, nine months in prison for membership in an armed terrorist group and illegally obtaining the classified documents related to state security. Also, the court gave seven years, six months in prison to a former military officer for membership in an armed terrorist group.

On Friday an İstanbul court sentenced 57 air force cadets to life and six others to aggravated life for their alleged role in the failed coup attempt.

In January, another İstanbul court ruled for aggravated life sentences for 23 military members and life sentences for 35 military personnel for attempting to change the constitutional order by means of the coup attempt in July 2016.

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, the 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 — 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.

The ruling AKP government dismissed 24,977 military members including 150 generals, 4,630 officers, 2,167 noncommissioned officers, 1,210 specialized sergeants, 411 civil servants and workers, and 16,409 cadets following the failed coup over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

In February of last year Henri Barkey, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Wilson Center, said that many generals purged by the Turkish government are pro-NATO and pro-American, saying this could create a shift in Turkey-NATO relations.

The head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, last year said Turkey could not convince them that US-based Turkish-Islamic scholar Gülen was behind the failed coup in July.

Similarly, Devin Nunes, chairman of United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he had not seen any evidence showing Gülen’s involvement in the putsch in Turkey.

In addition, a report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge. (turkishminute.com)

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