London [U.K.]: Turkey has begun the trial of more than 200 suspects including senior military officers accused of plotting and orchestrating 2016 failed coup.
The hearing did begin, but prosecutors are calling for their life sentences, and among them are President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s aide-de-camp, the former head of Turkey’s air force, and 26 former generals, colonels and majors.
Erdogan’s government claims that the July 15 coup attempt was orchestrated by the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, has been named in the indictment, but he denies his role in the failed coup.
Around 1,500 security personnel were deployed for security at the trial, state-run Anadolu news agency reported, which was held in a purpose-built courthouse in Sincan on the outskirts of the Turkish capital.
More than 240 people, many of them civilians, were killed in the failed coup on July 15, 2016, when a group of rogue soldiers commandered tanks, warplanes and helicopters, bombing the parliament and attempting to overthrow the government.
At the start of the hearing, families of the victims attending the trial screamed at the defendants, and one woman in the courtroom, whose son was killed during the coup, broke down.
“Kill these traitors, the murderers of my son,” she screamed before fainting. The judge called for a medical team to be brought into the courtroom.
From a total of 221 defendants, more than 200 are from the military and more than half of those were officers who held ranks from captains up to generals. All but 12 of the suspects, who are still at large, appeared in court. Gulen, who is among the defendants, is among those being tried in absentia.
The coup-related trials taking place across Turkey, are expected to last until June 16.
More than 47,000 people have been arrested on suspicion of links to the Gulen movement and around 1,50,000 civil servants, teachers, judges, prosecutors, police and soldiers in an unprecedented crackdown under a state of emergency that was imposed in the wake of the coup attempt. (ANI)