Turkey’s key coup attempt trial kicks off Aug 1

Turkey’s key coup attempt trial kicks off Aug 1

Turkey’s key coup attempt trial kicks off Aug 1 A critical trial on events at the Akıncı Airbase, which was used as the center of the coup attempt on the night of July 15, 2016, will start on Aug. 1. The trial will take place in the capital Ankara at a courtroom exclusively built for the coup trials. 

The chief suspect of the case is U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is believed to have masterminded the coup attempt. Former air commander Akın Öztürk and leaders Adil Öksüz, Kemal Batmaz, Harun Biniş, Nurettin Oruç and Hakan Çiçek will also be among the 486 suspects tried. 

The suspects are accused of “violating the Constitution, attempting to assassinate the President, attempting to abolish the government of Turkey, managing an armed terrorist organization, seizing military bases, manslaughter, attempting manslaughter, and deprivation of liberty.”

Events at the base were at the center of the coup attempt as Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and force commanders were taken to the base and held captive by pro-coup soldiers. The generals and commanders were all later freed in a Special Forces operation in the early hours of July 16. 

The base’s runways were also bombed on the night of the attempted putsch to prevent F-16s used by the coup plotters from taking off. 

Apart from taking generals captive, the suspects are also held responsible for the bombing of key offices like the parliament building, the Special Forces Headquarters at Gölbaşı, the TURKSAT satellite center and the Ankara Police Headquarters, as well as commanding the air actions of the coup attempt, including the movements of jets and F-16s. 

Some 461 of the suspects in the case are being tried in jail, 18 are being tried without arrest, and seven are fugitives. 

Adil Öksüz, known as the “Air Force imam” who was caught on the morning of July 16 in an open area near the air base by gendarmerie forces after spending the night of July 15 on the Akıncı Air Base, disappeared right after July 15 and has been at large since then. 

President Erdoğan, Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Presidential General Secretary Fahri Kasırga and Gen. Hulusi Akar will be among the 438 plaintiffs in the case. 

For the hearing, 130 gendarmeries will be assigned around the court house and the prison complex where the courthouse is built. Along with the gendarmerie, air defence systems, snipers, bomb squat, armoured vehicles and drones will also be used as security measures.