A court in the northern city of Bolu has sentenced İsmail Güneşer, a brigadier general who once served as a military aide to former President Abdullah Gül, to life in prison on Wednesday for his involvement in last year's coup attempt.
Güneşer, Veli Ceylan, who was a former lieutenant colonel, and Capt. Nuri Kıyak were sentenced to aggravated life sentences for joining a coup attempt last year in mid-July, which is blamed on military infiltrators of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Meanwhile, seven other defendants who were earlier released pending trial have been acquitted in yesterday's hearing.
Güneşer was the commander of a commando brigade in Bolu during the coup attempt and he was designated as the "martial law commander" by the putschists if they succeeded. Güneşer was in another city on July 15 but had telephoned the Bolu police chief and said he would order the killings of anyone approaching the base in Bolu.
A total of 249 people, mostly unarmed civilians, were killed across Turkey during the coup attempt.
The defendants in the case are accused of an attempt to abduct Bolu Governor Aydın Baruş, while Güneşer is charged with ordering the "removal" of both the governor and mayor, according to prosecutors. He has denied the allegations in the previous hearings.
Coup trials in Turkey started last year and hundreds of officers, from lieutenants to generals, are being tried for the coup attempt.
So far, only a few of the defendants have acknowledged their links to FETÖ despite evidence showing their meetings with the group's members.
Gülenists had been infiltrating the army, law enforcement, judiciary and bureaucracy for decades, prosecutors say, before moving to seize power in two coup attempts in 2013. They attempted to take over the government last year by using their infiltrators in the judiciary, police and army.
The first verdict in a July 15 coup-related trial was issued by a court in eastern Turkey's Erzurum in January. Two career officers were sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment on charges of "violating the Constitution," the formal name for a military coup attempt.
In all coup cases, high-ranking officers face multiple instances of aggravated life imprisonment and lesser terms for membership of a terrorist group.