Turkey hands life sentences to 70 former air force cadets

A Turkish court in Istanbul sentenced 70 former air cadets to life in prison over their role in a coup attempt in 2016, Sözcü newspaper reported on Friday

The court charged the students with violating the constitution, Sözcü said. The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement, a religious group, of orchestrating the failed putsch, which left 251 dead and 2,200 wounded.

A total of 3,879 defendants were convicted over links to the Gülen movement in post-coup trials as of 2020, including 2,335 who were sentenced to life in prison and 1,544 to prison terms ranging from one year and two months to 20 years. 

Following the coup attempt, the government also shut down military academies and established a National Defence University.