Turkey sentences 233 to prison for attempted coup against Erdogan

  • Most of the defendants have received convictions of life imprisonment, above all, for having occupied the headquarters of Turkish public television and having tried to assassinate the Turkish president

  • All are accused of trying to tear down the constitutional order and to belong to the brotherhood of Fetullah Gülen, the leader of an Islamist sect that resides in the United States

Ferdakar Açka, former colonel of the Turkish Army, life imprisonment for having occupied the staff building. Umit Gencer, former lieutenant, life imprisonment for having forced a coup statement to be read in TRT, Turkish public television. Muhammet Tanju Poshor, former colonel, life imprisonment for directing the occupation and takeover of TRT and holding 60 of its journalists hostage. Osman Koltar, former commander, life imprisonment for having tried to assassinate the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

There are only four names out of 233: the total number of people convicted this Wednesday for having participated in the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. All are accused of trying to tear down the constitutional order, of attempting against the life of the president and of belonging to the brotherhood of Fetullah Gülen, an Islamist cleric who lives in exile in USA since the 1990s and that he is the leader of an international religious sect to which Ankara accused of terrorist.

This brotherhood, during the 2000s, infiltrated its followers in key positions of the Turkish state and, with the help of Erdogan, built a Parallel state. But in 2012 Erdogan and Gülen broke up, and the Turkish government began to persecute the group’s followers, the so-called smiley. This group had followers in all state bodies, from the police to the Army, going through the courts, schools, universities, government and civil service.

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The battle between Erdogan and Gülen reached its zenith on July 15, 2016, at night, with an attempt that failed. Cost the life of 251 civilians who, called to defend democracy through the minarets and televisions, went to confront the tanks and helicopters of the rebels.

Bumps and bumps

After the sentence was published, Erdogan spoke to the Turkish Parliament, where he insisted on linking the failed coup with the main opposition party, the CHP, and a group of retired admirals – they are not part of Gülen’s group – who, a few days ago, published a public letter in which they asked the Turkish president not to withdraw from the Montreaux Convention, an international convention governing the status of the Bosphorus Straits and the Dardanelles.

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“We see his evil mind, which seeks to achieve power through doing evil to the country and the nation. They are as dangerous as terrorists and coup plotters. And I tell you very clearly: the CHP itself is behind these retired admirals, ”said Erdogan, whose government has called these ex-military“ coup plotters ”and has cataloged the public letter of incitement to another coup d’état. The letter was signed by 104 people; 14 were arrested on Monday.

According to the court ruling, of the 233 convicted, 90 have received life sentences. In some cases, this sentence exceeds 1,000 years in prison. In addition, 134 of the defendants have received a sentence from between 15 to 20 years in prison; another nine courts, 15 years old. In the macro-trial, however, 264 people have been acquitted.

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