Turkey coup ‘ringleaders’ face 252 life sentences each

Turkish prosecutors demand heavy life sentences for former airforce commander Akin Ozturk and other senior military officers on trial for their role in a 2016 failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
AFP

Ankara (AFP) – Turkish prosecutors on Wednesday demanded that former generals suspected of being the ringleaders of a failed 2016 coup be handed 252 life sentences.

The trial in Ankara is the most significant in a series being held across the country to bring to justice tens of thousands of people charged over the coup aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Several of the suspects on trial are accused of leading the so-called “Peace At Home Council”, the name the plotters are said to have given themselves the night of the failed overthrow.

They include ex-air force commander Akin Ozturk, Mehmet Disli, the brother of senior ruling party figure Saban Disli and colonel Ali Yazici, Erdogan’s former military aide.

Prosecutors called for these figures and other members of the so-called “Peace At Home Council” to be given 252 aggravated life sentences each, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

The Dogan news agency described the sentencing requests as a “record” in Turkey.

The aggravated life sentence is a life sentence with more severe detention conditions and was brought in after Turkey abolished the death penalty.

It is common in Turkey for serious criminals to be given multiple life sentences. Erdogan has at times mooted bringing in the death penalty for the coup suspects, but no concrete steps have ever been taken.

Turkey blames the July 15, 2016 coup attempt on Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a claim he strongly denies.

Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States, is among several suspects named in the indictment but who are on the run.

The prosecutors also demanded that the suspects be held responsible for the bloodshed on the coup night and be given an additional 55,880 years in jail for this, Anadolu said.

The attempted coup left 249 people dead, not counting 24 coup-plotters killed on the night of the putsch.

Turkish authorities have launched a vast crackdown in the wake of the coup bid and arrested tens of thousands with alleged links to the Gulen group and Kurdish militants.

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