There are only two trials left without conclusions out of 41 on the Istanbul leg of the Gülenist Terror Group’s (FETÖ) 2016 coup attempt. Courts in the city are now hearing the last pleas by defendants in the two trials after prosecutors presented their final arguments. Istanbul was one of the first places where citizens noticed a sinister coup attempt was unfolding. Indeed, most people in the country found out about the coup attempt when soldiers occupied a major bridge connecting the city’s European and Asian sides.
On July 15, 2016, soldiers secretly working for the terrorist group, tried to occupy several locations in the city, including police headquarters, the governorate, city hall, a busy toll road, offices of public broadcaster TRT and the headquarters of the main telecoms operator. Some senior officers managed to flee just minutes before the coup attempt was thwarted or in its immediate aftermath, but the rest were caught red-handed. Amid a state of emergency, prosecutors swiftly launched legal processes against the coup perpetrators and ordered the arrests of hundreds. However, trials took longer and so far, 39 trials have concluded with defendants sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 years to aggravated life imprisonment for a variety of charges, from the coup attempt to manslaughter and abduction. Most among those convicted were high-ranking officers, while the majority of conscripts who were forced to join the putsch bid by their superiors were acquitted. Currently, the only trials underway are those against coup plotters who took over an Air Forces military school and an elite unit of underwater commandos.