31 Turkish soldiers found guilty of attempting to kill President Erdogan

Thirty-one soldiers were sentenced to four aggravated life sentences at a trial held in Muğla today. They were charged and found guilty of plotting to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the July 2016 attempted coup.

Former Brigadier General Gökhan Şahin Sönmezateş and former Sergeant Zekeriya Kuzu, the so-called “base imam” of Çigli’s 2nd Main Jet Base Command in the Aegean province of İzmir, and former Major Şükrü Seymen were among the defendants who received four aggravated life sentences.

President Erdoğan’s former chief aide Ali Yazıcı was initially given an aggravated life sentence but the court later reduced his sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Asked by the head judge if he had any final words to defend himself at the court, Yazıcı said he would say his last words in another case in which he is also standing trial over the attempted takeover of the army headquarters in Ankara.

Meanwhile, the court acquitted former Lieutenant Colonel Hüseyin Yılmaz of all charges.

A total of 47 suspects – 43 in jail and two on the run – first went on trial in February in Muğla accused of the attempted assassination, violation of the constitution, and other crimes against the state during the July 15, coup attempt.

The defendants were accused of attacking the hotel in the holiday resort of Marmaris where Erdoğan was staying and killing two policemen. The president had left the hotel shortly before it was stormed.

Some of those charged said during the hearing that the prosecution process had been too hasty and that the evidence had not been adequately collected, while others said the trial had been unfairly processed.

Head judge Emirşah Baştoğ reportedly said “the case has run its normal progress, and has been completed in this way.”

The government accuses its former allies in the Gülen network of fomenting a long-running campaign to overthrow the state by infiltrating state institutions, the military, the police and the judiciary in particular.


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