A former commander of an elite commando brigade was among nine defendants sentenced to life imprisonment for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Ahmet Otal, who was leading the Hakkari Mountain and Commando Brigade in the eponymous southeastern province when the coup attempt was unfolding, was sentenced to life. Another defendant was handed down aggravated life imprisonment for the attempt that killed 251 people across Turkey and is blamed on military infiltrators of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
All defendants were military officers. The court in Hakkari also handed down prison terms ranging between 12 and 15 years to 10 other defendants.
Ahmet Otal was accused of leading the Hakkari leg of the nationwide coup attempt that was ultimately thwarted thanks to strong public resistance against putschists. The indictment against him includes his correspondence with Semih Terzi, a senior putschist general who instructed him to help with efforts to kidnap İsmail Metin Temel, an anti-coup general. Terzi was killed by Ömer Halisdemir, an officer who received posthumous recognition after killing the latter in the capital Ankara during Terzi's attempt to take over the command of the Special Forces Command of the army. Otal was also accused of coordinating military units in his command to seize power in Hakkari and had threatened police officers who detained him that "his brigade" was ready to take them out. Otal also had a hand grenade in his possession when he decided to surrender to police after the coup attempt was thwarted across the country.
Coup trials that started in late 2016 are still underway. More than 3,200 defendants are being tried in 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.
A total of 1,496 personnel with links to FETÖ were suspended from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the last 10 months, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported yesterday. Additionally, some 150 retired soldiers' ranks were revoked over FETÖ links.