Turkish court hands out 40 life sentences in Erdoğan assassination coup attempt case
A court in the Aegean province of Muğla on Oct. 4 sentenced 40 suspects to life terms in the trial of soldiers charged with plotting to kill Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the July 2016 coup attempt.
Erdoğan’s former security chief Ali Yazıcı was also 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, 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.
The court ruled for the separation of the files of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, former captain Burkay Karatepe, and former lieutenant colonel Özcan Karacan, from the case’s main file.
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.
Along with the aggravated life sentences, Zuku, nicknamed “Paşa” (General), was also give three 18-year jail sentences for stealing three policemen’s wallets.
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, 2016 coup attempt.
The defendants were accused of attacking the hotel in the resort of Marmaris where Erdoğan was staying and killing two policemen.
Erdoğan had left the hotel shortly before it was stormed.
On Oct. 4, the Muğla 2nd Heavy Penalty Court asked for the defendants’ final words during the case’s last hearing, which took place at the provincial Chamber of Commerce and Industry hall due to the inadequacy of the courtrooms at the Muğla court.
Some of the suspects said during the hearing that the prosecution process was undertaken hastily and the evidence had not been adequately collected, while some said the trial did not proceed fairly.
Head judge Emirşah Baştoğ, in return, said “the case has run its normal progress, and has been completed in this way.”