Turkey: Life imprisonment for coup participants against Turkish President Erdogan

ANKARA, (BM) – Military officers and civilians accused of participating in the failed coup in Turkey in 2016 were sentenced on Thursday by a court in Ankara to multiple unconditional life sentences, the Anatolia agency reported, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.

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The convicts are officers and pilots associated with the Akinci airbase near Ankara, which was to be the command center of the putschists on July 15, 2016. The following were given 79 unconditional life sentences: Lt. Col. Hasan Husnu Balikci, pilot of the F-16 who bombed the Turkish parliament, Col. Mustafa Mete Kaygusuz, who gave the orders to the pilots, and the former commander of the tanker base in Incirlik, General Bekir Ercan Van, who supplied fuel to the putschists.

The same sentence was also given to four civilians, imams associated with the FETO movement of the Islamic preacher Fetullah Gulen, who were ordered to make preparations for a coup d’état. The leader of the community, who has resided in the USA since 1999, is tried in absentia. The F-16 pilot, who dropped bombs in the vicinity of the presidential palace, killing 15 people, was also sentenced to 16 life sentences.

Life imprisonment was also sent to at least a dozen other soldiers accused of participating in the attack. The trial of officers from the Akinci base is one of the most important ones in the case of the 2016 coup, during which over 250 people were killed. 475 people were charged in the case.

According to Anatolia, since 2016, approx. 292 thousand people have been detained in total. people accused of ties to the Gulen movement, of which 100 thousand. heard the accusations, and 2.5 thousand were sentenced to life imprisonment. 150,000 jobs were lost due to alleged ties with Gulen. officials and 20 thousand. soldiers.

Mass arrests in June this year of Turkish military

The Turkish prosecutor’s office issued in Hune this year warrants for the detention of 118 people, mainly military and security forces suspected of having links to FETÖ, the “terrorist network” of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by the Turkish authorities of attempting a coup in July 2016.

Police raids today, on June 2, covered several provinces of Turkey. According to prosecutors, two separate operations were carried out.

As part of the first, 42 military and gendarmerie officers were arrested “as a result of statements by previously detained individuals and analysis of telephone calls”. Among them – 24 officers in active military service. The second operation led to the transfer of 76 military personnel, gendarmerie officers and civilians to police stations after confirming that they “used payphones to communicate with members of the terrorist network.” Seventy-four of them are in active service in the Turkish army and the gendarmerie [internal troops].

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The talks about a coup in Turkey are ‘hidden’ trick against the opposition

Turkish pro-government commentators are fanning a debate about conspiracies to overturn the government in order to distract from internal problems and target the opposition, reports The National Interest in May this year. Almost four years after the failed coup on July 15, 2016, pro-government supporters speculate on a possible second attempt to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which was disputed by independent observers quoted by the publication

The article notes that talk of a conspiracy against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) began after Erdogan accused the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in early May of “still wanting coups and the junta.”

The publication recalls that four governments in modern Turkish history were overthrown or forced to resign as a result of coups and military interventions. About 241 people were killed and 2,194 were injured during a coup attempt in 2016, when factions of the Turkish military launched an operation in large cities to overthrow Erdogan.

After the president’s last comments in May, pro-government commentators began talking about a possible coup, often without stinting in expressions, the article says. “You say,” we will overthrow Tayyip Erdogan, we will execute him. “How do you protect your wife, your children from us? For one drop of Erdogan’s blood, the blood of millions of people will be shed,” said journalist Fatih Tezkan.

However, Ersin Ramoglu, Sabah columnist, said last week that the religious movement Fethullah Gulen, which the AKP accuses of attempting a coup in 2016, is still strong enough in the Turkish state to start a new attempt to overthrow the government, the newspaper said. “They still exist in the army, the press, the police, the bureaucracy, municipalities and in politics,” said Ramoglu.

But Ahmet Evin, an experienced political scientist and senior fellow at the Istanbul Political Center, told The National that it was hard for him to believe that any faction could challenge the government after many years of purges following the coup attempt. “This is really confusing, because who in the army can do something like that?” He pointed out. In addition, MP from the CHP, Murat Emir, called talking about new coup attempts a means of combating government critics. “Under the current government, every opposition figure who claims the need for change is accused of hinting at a coup,” he told the publication.

The article also stated that last month, Erdogan accused the mayors of URPs, who wrested control of the country’s largest cities from the AKP in the local elections of 2019, of using their positions to create a “parallel state”, as they launched their own assistance programs during the pandemic coronavirus. These comments sparked speculation that the president might be preparing to seize the municipalities of the URP, as Kurdish-led municipalities in the south-east of the country have already been selected.

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At the same time, talk of a coup is a diversion at a time when the Turkish economy is struggling to overcome the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, said Aykan Erdemir, senior program director of the Democracy Protection Fund in Turkey.

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