Turkish courts sentence 2,381 people over their alleged role in controversial coup bid

One hundred ninety-four out of 289 trials concerning a controversial coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016 have concluded since the first trials in December 2016.

Turkish courts, which are under the direct manipulation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, handed down prison terms to 2,381 defendants, the majority of whom are military officers.

According to reports in Turkey’s pro-government media, a total of 734 people were sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment with no chance of parole, while 1,624 defendants were handed down life sentences. Seven hundred fifty-seven defendants were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one year, two months to 20 years in hundreds of cases based on their alleged role in the coup attempt.

Thirty-one defendants were given four separate sentences of aggravated life imprisonment, while four others received three sentences of aggravated life imprisonment each. Ninety-five trials are still underway, and government officials expect them to be wrapped up by the end of this year.

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 Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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. Previously, 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 jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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