An Istanbul court yesterday handed down aggravated life imprisonment to eight defendants for their role in the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Defendants were among 90 soldiers who tried to take over Istanbul Governorate during the attempt, blamed on military infiltrators of Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). The court ordered the release of 80 defendants and a separate trial for two other defendants. Among those sentenced to life were Col. Nizamettin Aydın and officers Recep Karaçam, Erkan Tercan, Halit Turan, İsa Turhan, Mehmet Ekerbiçer, Mehmet Umut and Sadık Efe.
Aydın, who commanded the troops occupying the governorate, has claimed that he was dispatched to the building by his superiors as "a measure against possible terror attacks" and was not aware that he was part of a coup attempt. His defense was almost verbatim with what other coup suspects told at the coup trials, that, they were dispatched by their superiors to prevent "likely terror attacks." On July 15, 2016, soldiers had invaded the governorate, forcing police officers guarding the place to lay down arms. However, a large crowd gathered outside the governorate, upon calls by country's leaders to the public to take to the streets to confront the putschists. Pro-coup troops were eventually forced to withdraw and were arrested later. More than 1,200 defendants were sentenced to life and aggravated life imprisonment in dozens of coup trials that started in December 2016.