A group of lawmakers formally submitted their requests yesterday to become plaintiffs in a case on the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, during which fighter jets bombed Parliament in the capital Ankara.
Leyla Şahin Usta, deputy chair of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and a lawmaker from central Konya province, led the applicants who arrived in Sincan where a massive prison-courthouse complex holding putschists is located.
Usta spoke to reporters before heading to the courtroom for the Akıncı military base trial and said they wanted to tell the court what happened at Parliament during the "treacherous" coup attempt and how they felt. "We are here so everything that happened when Parliament was bombed that night can be officially recorded," she said.
A total of 474 defendants are being tried for their actions at the Akıncı military base on July 15, 2016, during the coup attempt blamed on the military infiltrators of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Akıncı was the command center of the coup attempt that killed 251, and for the warplanes and helicopters that took off from the base struck strategic locations in Ankara that night. It was also the base where top military brass who opposed the coup were held hostage.
Usta told reporters that nobody dared to bomb Parliament. "These are historical moments. What we went through that night and how the nation took to the streets without thinking that they could be killed, and how President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan defied the putschists are evidence of our struggle against the coup plotters," she said.
Lawmakers from all parties rushed to Parliament when they heard a coup was unfolding on the night of July 15 and issued a joint declaration in support of democracy.
Parliament was heavily damaged by the airstrikes, but the coup attempt was quelled thanks to a strong public resistance that forced the soldiers to flee or surrender.
"We are also here so that we can steadfastly monitor the legal proceedings to ensure that those traitors who failed are held accountable for what they did," Usta added