Ali Yazıcı, a former military aide to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and two other military officers, are being retried in a case involving an assassination attempt against Erdoğan.
Yazıcı, Col. Cenk Bahadır Avcı who was the commander of a military air base and Hüseyin Yılmaz, a former lieutenant-colonel, appeared before a court in the southwestern province of Muğla yesterday.
The Supreme Court had earlier ruled for the retrial of three men, citing sentences handed down earlier were insufficient. Yazıcı was sentenced to 18 years for aiding and abetting a crime while the Supreme Court ruled that he was in fact "the main culprit" in the case.
Prosecutors say all three defendants had key roles in the assassination attempt during the July 15, 2016 coup attempt by military infiltrators of the Gülenist Terror Group. President Erdoğan was on vacation in Muğla's Marmaris town at the time of the coup attempt. A group of pro-coup troops stormed the hotel he was staying in with his family, shortly before Erdoğan, upon hearing a coup was underway, left the premises. Two police officers guarding the hotel were killed by putschists. Yazıcı, who was not in the Marmaris at the time of the attempt, was accused of trying to locate where the president was with the purpose of helping other putschists to kill him.
The putschists' attempt to raid the hotel was foiled and 36 troops involved in the assassination bid fled to the countryside. Thirty-five of them were captured within days while Burkay Karatepe, a captain, remains at large. The assassination team, including former general Gökhan Şahin Sönmezateş who is accused of masterminding the assassination plot, were sentenced to aggravated life sentences. Ali Yazıcı was already sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment in another coup attempt trial in the capital Ankara last week while Hüseyin Yılmaz is jailed, awaiting the verdict in another coup-related trial in Ankara.
Strong resistance including those slain by coup plotters thwarted the coup attempt. Erdoğan, who secretly flew to Istanbul from Marmaris during the coup attempt, is credited with mobilizing the nation to stand against the putschists.
The Supreme Court has upheld aggravated life sentences for the team of assassins but said in its ruling that although Yazıcı was not at the crime scene, he was involved in planning the assassination and organizing the military officers tasked with the killing attempt, as well as finding the exact location of the president on July 15, 2016. On that day, Yazıcı traveled from the capital Ankara to a military base in İzmir where the team of assassins left for the attempt on Erdoğan's life.