74 sentenced to life in FETÖ coup attempt trial
A court in the Turkish capital handed down life sentences yesterday to 74 former military officers who commanded the military helicopters that killed civilians and bombed strategic locations in the terrorist group FETÖ's 2016 coup attempt
A trial of helicopter pilots and their commanders who were involved in brutal attacks during the 2016 coup attempt, ended yesterday in the capital Ankara. A total 56 defendants were sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment, while another 18 defendants were handed down life sentences for their involvement in the coup attempt perpetrated by military infiltrators of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Those tried in yesterday's trial were accused of killing 28 civilians and inflicting injuries on 276 others due to shots fired from military helicopters.
Defendants had either personally commanded the helicopters or ordered them to attack places that putschists viewed critical to seizing power. Helicopters fired at the headquarters of the National Intelligence Directorate as well as the Office of Chief of General Staff, the army's main headquarters during the 2016 coup attempt. They dropped bombs and fired assault rifles on civilians who filled the streets around those buildings in a peaceful bid to stop the coup attempt.
Uğur Kapan, a colonel and pilot of the helicopter that brought Hulusi Akar to Çankaya Manor after his abductors released him from Akıncı, was among the defendants sentenced in yesterday's hearing. The 17th High Criminal Court handed down 29 instances of aggravated life imprisonment for Kapan, along with a total of 3,932 years in prison for Kapan. Forty-five defendants in the case were handed down prison terms ranging between six years and three months to 18 years.
Sadullah Abra, a major and helicopter pilot, was among those with the heaviest sentences. He was handed down 25 instances of aggravated life imprisonment, apart from 3,536 years. He piloted a Cobra helicopter on the night of July 15, 2016, and was the pilot who asked the fellow members of his unit to shoot at police trying to stop the putschists. "Fire at anything with a blue lamp on it, shoot the police!" Abra could be heard saying over the radio to fellow helicopter pilots. Abra's wife was also convicted in a separate trial regarding FETÖ.
Col. Oğuz Yalçın and noncommissioned officer İlhan Ocakçıoğlu were sentenced to multiple instances of aggravated life imprisonment for coordinating between superior putschist officers and helicopter pilots as personnel stationed at a air traffic control tower. The indictment against both men quote their radio talk where they can be heard giving coordinates to pilots on targets, from the presidential complex to crowds gathered on streets against putschists.
The trial was among 289 opened following the 2016 coup attempt and was one of about three dozens not concluded until yesterday.
Since the foiled coup attempt, hundreds of military officers and civilians who took part in the bid have been brought to justice. Tens of thousands of people linked to FETÖ were also detained or arrested in the aftermath of the attempt. In the concluded trials, more than 1,950 defendants, ranging from generals to low-ranking officers were sentenced to life and more than 3,100 defendants received varying prison terms for their role in the coup attempt.
The attempt in 2016 came one month before a planned purge of suspected FETÖ infiltrators in the military and was the bloodiest attempt to overthrow the government by the terrorist group, which used its infiltrators in the police and judiciary in 2013 in an attempt to seize power in two separate coup bids.
After the coup attempt was quelled thanks to strong public resistance, more than 100,000 new investigations were opened into the attempt and FETÖ's role in the putsch. Those handed down aggravated life sentences, the heaviest sentence in Turkey after the abolition of the death penalty years ago, have little chance of eligibility for an early release from prison. Among those sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment are 58 generals, 651 officers, 137 noncommissioned officers and four police officers. Fifteen generals, mostly those who were stationed in smaller cities where the coup had less impact, were sentenced to life imprisonment, along with 325 officers and 99 noncommissioned officers.
More than 3,100 sentenced in trials over FETÖ's coup attempt
More than 3,100 people were handed down prison sentences so far in the 254 of 289 trials over the FETÖ terrorist group's 2016 coup attempt, which are expected to be concluded by the end of this year
Some 254 out of the 289 trials on the putsch bid ended with heavy sentences for those involved and 35 trials, mostly those with a high number of defendants continue. In the concluded trials, 1,952 defendants, ranging from generals to low-ranking officers were sentenced to life and a total of 3,101 defendants received varying prison terms for their role in the coup attempt.
Former soldier gets jail term over FETO link
Turkish security forces hold 19 suspects over ties with FETO, group behind 2016 defeated coup in Turkey
Turkish judges on Tuesday sentenced a former military officer to more than six years for his ties to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, according to judicial authorities. Emre Aslan, a former captain in the Turkish Armed Forces, was found guilty of being a FETO member and he was handed 6 years and 3 months of prison sentence.
Separately, Turkish security forces in the Aegean province of Izmir arrested a former police chief on suspicions of being a FETO member. In a separate operation in Izmir, security forces rounded up 13 out of the 17 suspects for their alleged links to FETO, security sources said.
Security forces in the capital Ankara also held 5 out of the 9 suspects sought for being FETO members, security sources said. The suspects were found to have communicated with FETO’s “covert imams” -- senior FETO operatives -- via pay phones.
Arrest warrants out for above 200 FETO suspects
Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 214 people with suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, a judicial source said Tuesday. Arrest warrants were issued for the suspects as part of a probe for 140 suspects into the terror group's clandestine network in the Turkish Armed Forces, a statement by the prosecutors in the capital Ankara said.
Among the suspects, who were found to have communicated with FETO’s “covert imams” -- a senior FETO member -- via pay phones, were 41 on active-duty soldiers in the Land, Air and Naval Forces, the statement added.