A Turkish court on Thursday, November 26, sentenced 27 people, including a majority of officers and pilots, to life imprisonment after the main trial over an attempted coup in 2016 targeting President Recep. Tayyip Erdogan. These people were found guilty in particular of “Attempt to overthrow the constitutional order”, of “Attempted assassination of the president” and D’“Intentional homicides”.
Among those convicted are pilots who bombed several emblematic sites of the capital Ankara, such as the Parliament, and officers who led the coup from the Akinci military base. Four civilians, including businessman Kemal Batmaz, were each sentenced to 79 aggravated life sentences.
The life sentence “Aggravated”, which includes stricter conditions of detention, replaced in the Turkish legal arsenal the death penalty abolished in 2004. In total, 475 people were tried in this trial considered to be the main proceedings concerning the failed coup from July 15 to 16 2016. The fate of the other defendants was not yet known, but the court was to announce its decision on Thursday.
289 trials in connection with the coup attempt already completed
Mr. Erdogan accuses the preacher Fethullah Gülen of having hatched the coup attempt. Mr. Gülen, a former ally of the Turkish president who resides in the United States, denies any involvement. Since the failed coup, authorities have relentlessly tracked down Mr. Gülen’s supporters and have unleashed purges on a scale unprecedented in modern Turkish history.
Several tens of thousands of people have been arrested and more than 140,000 dismissed or suspended from their duties. The waves of arrests continue to this day, although their pace has become less intense five years after the attempted coup.
Other trials, with an even larger number of defendants, are ongoing. More than 520 people are thus tried in a trial in connection with the activities of the presidential guard during the night of the failed coup. No less than 289 trials in connection with the coup attempt have already been completed, while ten others are continuing. Courts have so far sentenced more than 4,100 people, imposing life sentences on more than 2,500 of them, according to official figures.