A Turkish court on Thursday gave aggravated life sentences to 56 ex-soldiers from the Turkish Army Aviation Command for being involved in the failed military coup attempt in 2016, the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
The AA reported based on judicial sources that Ankara 17th High Criminal Court handed down heavy life sentences to 56 ex-soldiers in a case where 152 suspects are currently being tried.
The 56 suspects received six to 29 times aggravated life sentences due to involvement in the coup attempt on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government in 2016.
Among those suspects were Ugur Kapan, an ex-helicopter pilot who transported then-chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar to Cankaya Palace from Akinci Base in capital Ankara during the coup attempt.
Kapan was given 29 times aggravated life term in prison, which amounts to 3,932 years’ sentence.
The Ankara court also sentenced 18 of the suspects to life in prison “for their roles in Turkish Army Aviation Command during July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt,” the AA said, citing sources who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
While 34 ex-soldiers were given sentences between 12 and a half years and 18 years for providing support for the military coup attempt, 31 of the suspects were acquitted of all charges.
Turkish President Erdogan blames Fethullah Gulen, leader of the faith-based Hizmet movement who has been living in self-imposed exile in the US since 1999 and his followers for organizing the failed coup attempt.
More than 77,000 real and alleged members of the movement have been jailed pending trial as part of a crackdown on the movement carried out by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
Critics lament that thousands of people in Turkey have been put through politically motivated trials and arrests since 2016’s attempted coup.
The Turkish government has also dismissed or suspended around 150,000 public officers, military personnel and others from their public jobs over suspected links to the faith-based movement.
Allegations of any involvement in the putsch attempt are denied by Gulen.