Jun 20 2019

Turkish court sentences coup ringleaders to 141 life terms each

A Turkish court sentenced 17 people to 141 consecutive life sentences each for their part in a 2016 failed coup that aimed to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The 17 include former Air Forces Commander Akın Öztürk, Gendarmerie Brigadier General Ali Osman Gürcan, and General Mehmet Dişli, who was accused of attempting to convince then Commander in Chief Hulusi Akar to join the coup attempt. Former Colonel Ali Yazıcı, who served as an aide to Erdoğan up until the coup, was also sentenced to life in prison.

The Turkish government accuses Gülen movement, a secretive religious group, of orchestrating the failed putsch. The Gülen movement, formerly allied to Erdoğan’s Islamist party, denies any links to the coup attempt, during which 251 people were killed and nearly 2,200 wounded.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in March that that 511,000 people had been detained and 30,821 charged in operations against the Gülen movement since 2016.

More than 130,000 public servants were also summarily dismissed from their jobs during two years of emergency rule declared following the failed coup.