Istanbul court hands life sentences to 2016 Sancaktepe terror attack culprits

Published 09.01.2019 00:00
Updated 09.01.2019 15:31

A court in Istanbul on Wednesday handed down life sentences to two culprits of a PKK-claimed terror attack that injured nine people, including six soldiers, in 2016.

A car bomb was remotely detonated in Istanbul's Sancaktepe district near a military barracks on May 12, 2016, targeting a passing service vehicle carrying military personnel.

The 26th Criminal Court in Istanbul on Wednesday sentenced defendants Irfan Kılıç and Mehmet Akif Uslu to life imprisonment for "disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state." They were sentenced to a total of 144 years in prison for "attempted murder" of nine people, and an additional 10 years in prison and 40,000 Turkish lira ($7,240) of judicial fines for "possession of dangerous goods." The court ruled that Kılıç and Uslu would not be punished additionally for "membership in an armed terrorist organization."

The court ruled for the acquittal of three defendants over lack of evidence. The verdict on Osman Gülen, for whom an arrest warrant was issued, was ruled to be issued separately.

Defendants Kılıç, Şaban Uslu and Abdülbaki Uslu appeared in the court in Istanbul. Mehmet Akif Uslu attended the hearing via audiovisual systems from the prison in northern Rize province where he is being held.

The PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU – often kills civilians in its terror attacks against Turkish security forces. The group has also targeted civilians, usually labeling them as "traitors" or "degenerate Kurds aligning with the Turkish state," even though the overwhelming majority of Turkey's Kurdish citizens stand strong against PKK terror and want the militants out of their hometowns.

The PKK resumed its 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state in July 2015. Since then, more than 440 members of the security forces, including troops, police officers and village guards, have been killed.

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