Two commanders given aggravated life sentences in first coup conviction
ERZURUMTwo commanders in the eastern province of Erzurum were sentenced to aggravated life sentences on Jan. 5 over the failed July 2016 coup attempt, marking the first conviction in the case, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The Erzurum 2nd high criminal court separately sentenced then-Erzurum Gendarmerie Region Command Chief of Staff Col. Murat Koçak and Operations and Public Order Department Chief Staff Maj. Murat Yılmaz to aggravated life sentences on charges of “violating the constitution,” an accusation they denied.
The court board also refused to give a reduction for good conduct to both commanders.
Koçak had reportedly been named as the martial law commander of the province in an assignment list prepared by the Fethullahist Terror Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PYD), which has been accused of attempting the takeover.
Yılmaz, on the other hand, had reportedly been using ByLock, an encrypted messaging application said to have been used by members of the Gülenist movement by U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Meanwhile, in another ByLock operation, an Istanbul court ordered on Jan. 5 the arrest of 44 soldiers.
Turkey succeeded in averting the coup attempt on the night of July 15, 2016 when rogue elements of the military tried to overthrow the government.
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest the attempted takeover in which a total of 248 people were killed and 2,193 were wounded.
In December, Defense Minister Fikri Işık stated that a total of 22,085 military personnel had been dismissed for their links to the movement after the coup attempt.
In another leg of the Gülenist probes, Ankara prosecutors on Jan. 5 issued detention warrants for 105 wives of military personnel on suspicions that they played a role in the coup attempt and for being members of the movement.
The warrants came as part of a probe investigating alleged misconduct on the public personnel selection test (KPSS).
Among the suspects, two are wives of colonels, 14 are wives of lieutenant colonels, 40 are the wives of majors, 40 are the wives of captains and four are the wives of first lieutenants.
The women are accused of financing the movement, having contacts with senior members of the movement and conducting money transactions via Bank Asya, a bank that was seized by the state over its links with the movement.
As part of the investigation, the suspects are also charged with seizing questions from the KPSS exams before the tests took place. The operations are being conducted in 31 provinces.
Detention warrants were also issued against a total of 380 Turkish businessmen on suspicion that they collected and provided financial support to the Gülenist movement.
Operations are continuing in 35 provinces to apprehend the business leaders, but 110 suspects were determined to be overseas.