In a new indictment released on Friday, one day before the first anniversary of the July 15 coup attempt, prosecutors asked for multiple life sentences for 143 pro-coup troops accused of killing anti-coup civilians on an Istanbul bridge. Some 32 civilians and two police officers were killed when they confronted the putschists taking over Istanbul's Bosporus Bridge on July 15 during the coup attempt blamed on infiltrators of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
The takeover of the bridge - since renamed the July 15 Martyrs Bridge - was one of the iconic moments during the coup bid. A large crowd of civilians and police officers had streamed onto the bridge connecting the city's Asian and European sides to convince the soldiers to surrender. Soldiers responded by firing on the crowd. Erol Olçok, owner of an ad agency and a close friend of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was among those killed by the putschists, along with his teenage son Abdullah Tayyip. Olçok's wife is among the 318 plaintiffs in the case.
The prosecutors charged the defendants with attempting to overthrow the government, a sentence carrying lifetime imprisonment.
The indictment also includes video footage of incidents on the bridge, showing a crowd flocking to the site around 12:40 a.m. The crowd grows in number around 2:00 a.m., while soldiers start pointing their guns at them. A pro-coup officer identified as Major Ahmet Taştan then orders troops to fire on the crowd. The footage shows the shooting of a victim riding a motorcycle and people carrying Turkish flags, as well as the capture of two police officers on the bridge by pro-coup troops. A tank on the bridge also fired on the crowd. The footage ends with anti-coup crowds marching toward troops around 6:35 a.m. on July 16. Pro-coup troops had surrendered in the early hours of July 16 when the putsch bid was quelled more or less by a strong public resistance all across the country.
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