Since February 2017, over 600 people convicted in the capital Ankara of involvement in the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey have received prison sentences ranging from about a decade to life.
The Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) is accused of orchestrating the putsch bid through its infiltrators in the Turkish military. Since the attempt was foiled, thousands were arrested or detained after the first coup trials opened in the country in December 2016.
Ankara was at the heart of the coup attempt as it is also the headquarters of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Putschists had kidnapped Gen. Hulusi Akar, Chief of the General Staff and other top military brass opposing them in Ankara and used an air base as a launchpad for airstrikes targeting the parliament, an anti-coup crowd gathered outside the presidential complex as well as headquarters of Special Operations police among other strategic locations.
Thirteen coup cases have ended since Feb. 6, 2017, when the first coup-plotter appeared before a judge in Ankara. In the latest trial to conclude in Ankara, eighteen putschists were given aggravated life sentences by city's 14th Heavy Penal Court on Thursday for the premeditated murder of Sergeant Ömer Halisdemir. Halisdemir, who was killed after he shot dead one of ringleaders of the putschists who tried to take over the headquarters of army's elite Special Forces Command, is a national hero and a symbol of resistance against the coup attempt. On the same day, another court sentenced 27 to aggravated life imprisonment while 20 others received life sentences for the coup attempt at the 58th Artillery Regiment Command in Ankara's Polatlı district. A total of 217 other suspects were given prison sentences of about 12-20 years for aiding the violation of the Constitution. Sixty-four others were released by the court.
In other trials concluded since February, 52 suspects who manned rogue army tanks on the streets of the capital appeared before judges at the 18th Heavy Penal Court, where 11 were given aggravated life sentences, 27 got life sentences, and 14 received various other prison terms.
In a case involving the detention of Presidential Secretary General Fahri Kasırga during the coup attempt, the 13th Heavy Penal Court gave 18 convicts aggravated life sentences plus 12 years, while five got life sentences plus 10 years. Former Col. Muhsin Kutsi Barış, former commander with the Presidential Guard Regiment, was also given 12 years in prison at the same hearing.
Separately, 13 convicts were given heavy life sentences, while 15 others got life sentences from the 13th Heavy Penal Court for their takeover of main telecoms provider Türk Telekom's headquarters in the capital.
For their actions at the Coast Guard Command, 23 convicts were given life terms, while two others were given heavy life sentences.
Ankara's 14th High Criminal Court sentenced 13 suspects, including eight former soldiers and five civilians, to aggravated life sentences for trying to cut the signal feed of Turkish satellite operator TÜRKSAT during the defeated coup.
In the kidnapping case of retired Gen. Kamil Başoğlu, the former head of the Doctrine Command, the 17th Criminal Court gave life sentences to five former soldiers, and two others got nine-year sentences.
In other trials, four former officers - including ex-squadron leaders and a former lieutenant - who ran over civilians with tanks were given aggravated life sentences from the 20th Heavy Penal Court. A total of 64 Turkish Military Academy students were given life sentences, including four aggravated life sentences, by the 17th Heavy Penal Court, which also released 100 others for having no intention of committing a crime.
Also, the 13th Heavy Penal Court gave 22 people life sentences for coup attempt at the Special Air Regiment, while 11 were got 12 additional years in prison for deprivation of liberty.
Separately, 47 suspects, including two former rear admirals, were given heavy life sentences for the coup attempt at the Turkish Naval Forces Command, while 18 others got life sentences.