Turkey jails 32 ex-soldiers for life over 2016 coup attempt

A photo from the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016.

A photo from the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016.

A Turkish court on Wednesday jailed 32 former soldiers for life in a mass trial involving nearly 500 military defendants implicated in a failed 2016 bid to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In one of the last mammoth trials stemming from a bloody night that turned Erdogan on a more authoritarian course and set off a wave of arrests that continue to this day, an Ankara court heard evidence against the presidential guard.

The putsch attempt included a raid on Turkey’s main state television broadcaster, whose newscaster was forced to read out a statement from the military junta leaders.

Although both the presidential palace and the parliament building were bombed, Erdogan escaped capture because he was on holiday in a Turkish seaside resort town.

The private DHA and state Anadolu new agencies said 32 suspects received life terms.

Accused included former lieutenant colonel Umit Gencer, convicted of “violating the constitutional order” by making TRT television read out a “coup declaration”.

The court also handed ex-major Fedakar Akca an aggravated life sentence for leading a team from the regiment to the general staff headquarters on the night on 15 July 2016, Anadolu reported.

Former colonel Muhammet Tanju Poshor received his sentence for directing the occupation of the TRT building.

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