Eleven people, including a former commander of gendarmerie troops in Istanbul, were sentenced to life yesterday for their role in the Gülenist Terror Group's (FETÖ) coup attempt three years ago.
A court in Istanbul handed down life sentences for Col. Gürcan Sercan and other defendants, while 19 other defendants in the case were handed down prison terms of between 12 and 15 years. All were members of the Istanbul command of the gendarmerie forces of the Turkish army and were charged with the coup attempt on July 15, 2016. A total of 251 people were killed and hundreds of others were injured when military infiltrators of FETÖ tried to seize power.
Sercan was accused of holding a meeting with other putschist officers before the coup attempt to plan the attempt and was allegedly on the Bosporus Bridge on the night of July 15, 2016 when putschists took over the bridge and killed civilians opposing them.
The attempt came one month before a planned purge of suspected FETÖ infiltrators in the military and was the bloodiest attempt to overthrow the government by the terrorist group, which used its infiltrators in police and judiciary in 2013 in an attempt to seize power in two coup bids.
Since the coup attempt was quelled, thousands of people have been detained or arrested for FETÖ links and actively participating in the coup attempt. The Interior Ministry recently announced that 30,709 people have been taken into custody for their links to FETÖ following the coup attempt, and another 19,329 people were convicted of FETÖ membership and related crimes.
Coup trials that started in late 2016 are still underway. More than 3,200 defendants are being tried in this month's trials on the coup attempt across the country. Some 3,800 defendants in total are being tried for their roles in the failed putsch bid.