An Istanbul court yesterday sentenced eight people to aggravated life imprisonment and 14 others to life imprisonment for their role in the July 15, 2016 coup attempt blamed on the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Suspects included military officers, conscripts and cadets stationed or brought to a military base on Istanbul's Asian side. They were dispatched to or commanded units to Kartal Bridge, a busy overpass and main route in the city, which was taken over by putschists during the coup attempt.
The court ruled for 10 years and six months in prison for four other defendants for membership in a terrorist group, while a separate trial will be held for 10 other defendants who were released pending trial earlier.
Putschists had to flee when civilians finding out about the coup attempt took to the streets and blocked the way of armored vehicles commanded by putschists.
FETÖ has faced a crackdown since the coup attempt was thwarted, and thousands have been detained or arrested since July 15, 2016. Yesterday, 37 former military officers out of 101 wanted by authorities were detained in the latest operations against FETÖ. Suspects are accused of being secret members of the group. Eleven suspects were pilots at Akıncı, an air base in the capital Ankara where warplanes and gunships took off to strike strategic locations including Parliament. Some suspects were jailed after they were detained in the aftermath of the coup attempt. Investigators also traced a "secret imam" or a civilian handler for FETÖ's infiltrators in the military to a brigadier general. Brigadier General Emin Ayık, who was stationed in an air base in eastern Turkey at the time of the coup attempt, was sentenced to life in a trial concluded last week. Investigations revealed that Ayık, who denied his ties to the group like other defendants in the coup trial, was contacted at least four times by FETÖ's "imam."
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