Turkish courts sentence 1,258 defendants to aggravated life over their alleged role in coup attempt

Turkish courts have sentenced a total of 1,808 defendants to lengthy prison terms, including aggravated life for 1,258 of them, in 163 out of 286 court cases opened against the suspects over their alleged roles in a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

According to data compiled by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, following the coup attempt in 2016, Turkish prosecutors have launched more than 100,000 investigations. After their completion, 286 court cases were opened by prosecutors to try the alleged coup plotters, of which 163 have thus far been concluded.

In these finalised cases, 579 defendants were given aggravated life sentences, while 31 were sentenced to four aggravated life sentences and four defendants to three aggravated life sentences. Among those who were given aggravated life sentences are 48 generals, 380 lower-ranking military officers, 97 noncommissioned officers, 25 specialized sergeants, an expert soldier, 16 military school cadets, six engineers, tw police officers and six civilians.

Also, the courts have sentenced 697 defendants, including nine generals, 199 lower-ranking military officers and 89 noncommissioned officers, to life sentences, while 550 defendants were given prison sentences of between one year, two months and 20 years.

Turkey survived a controversial 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 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.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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