Turkish gov’t sentences 58 people including air force cadets to consecutive life sentences

An İstanbul court handed down aggravated life sentences to 23 military members and life sentences to 35 military personnel for attempting to change the constitutional order by means of a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Ninety-three military personnel were tried by the İstanbul 24th High Criminal Court on accusations of playing a role in the occupation of the TRT and Digitürk broadcasting buildings in İstanbul on July 15, 2016.

The court also handed down prison sentences of between 11 years, eight months, and 16 years to 16 military members for “attempting to kill people,” and prison sentences of between four and five years to 56 military personnel for “illegally preventing a broadcaster from broadcasting.”

Acquitting 35 military members, the court also sentenced two officers and a cadet to three years for insulting Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The air force cadets said they were taken to İstanbul in buses from Yalova and that they did not know they were part of a coup attempt.

The cadets said the only surprising thing on July 15, 2016 was an unplanned morning visit by Air Forces Commander Gen. Abidin Ünal to their training camp in Yalova.

Turkish media reported claims that during a speech to cadets in Yalova on July 15, Ünal underlined the importance of carrying out the orders of their commanders.

Meanwhile, a Turkish court arrested the commander of the Turkish military forces in northern Cyprus and his chief of staff on Friday, Turkish news channel CNN Türk reported. General İlyas Bozkurt and Retired Colonel Erdal Dodurga of the Cyprus Turkish Peace Force Command were detained as part of the investigation over alleged members of the Gülen movement. After being interrogated in Ankara by the Turkish police and prosecutor, Bozkurt and Dodurga was arrested on charges of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government.

Columnist Ahmet Nesin on Jan. 17 wrote on the Artıgerçek news website that during his unplanned visit Ünal told the commander of the camp to cancel all training activities in the afternoon: “He told the commander ‘Do not tire the boys, they will get tired this evening’.” Relatives of the soldiers were shocked by the verdicts. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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