Turkish gov’t seeks aggravated life sentences for 116 military students over coup claims

Turkish government has sought aggravated life sentences for 119 military personnel, consist of  116 military students and 3 senior military officers, over their alleged participation in the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The military students and 3 senior officers have been accused of the incidents that took place in İstanbul’s Sultanbeyli district and at the Turkish Mehmetcik Foundation on the night of the controversial coup attempt.

At the 28th High Criminal Court in İstanbul’s Silivri district, the military personnel stand accused of violating the constitutional order. Prosecutor Orhan Uzun requested aggravated life sentences for the 119 military personnel for attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.

Also on Friday, 61 military personnel, including 7 military officers and 51 non-commissioned military officers, were detained in Mardin, İzmir, İstanbul, Ankara, Manisa, Tekirdağ and Şanlıurfa provinces as part of a Mardin-based investigation targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, at least 21 people have been detained on Friday across Turkey as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement.

It was reported that 13 people, who used to work as volunteer for  ‘Kimse Yok Mu’ Relief Foundation which was closed by a government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of the controversial coup attempt in 2016 over its affiliation with the civic Gülen movement, were detained across İstanbul province. The detentions came following the warrants issued by İstanbul Prosecutor’s Office for 21 members of the foundation.

In another operation in central province of Kayseri, 8 businessman were detained by police for allegedly funding the Gülen movement.

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 Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip 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. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. 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.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 2, 2018. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “Even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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