Turkish court hands down multiple life sentences to 2016 coup plotters

A Turkish court sentenced more than a dozen people to multiple life terms in jail for their roles in a failed military coup four years ago.

More than 10 military officers, including former generals, received 79 aggravated life sentences each for their alleged participation in the putsch. Four civilians also received the same punishment.

The trial, the most high-profile of several court cases related to the coup attempt, began in August 2017 and involved almost 500 suspects, who were accused of helping to organise the operation from Ankara’s Akıncı air base.

Charges against suspects also included bombing government buildings such as the parliament in Ankara and attempting to kill Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey accuses U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen and his followers known as the Gülen movement of orchestrating the coup after Erdoğan’s government began a crackdown on the group. Gülen has denied any involvement. 

Four civilians - Kemal Batmaz, Hakan Çiçek, Nurettin Oruç and Harun Biniş - allegedly a senior member of the Gülen movement - received the same aggravated life sentences.

Former pilot, lieutenant colonel Hasan Hüsnü Balıkçı, accused of bombing Turkey's parliament, lieutenant Mustafa Mete Kaygusuz, who gave instructions to the pilots of several F-16 jets hijacked by the coup plotters, and Incirlik 10th Tanker Base Commander Bekir Ercan Van, who provided fuel to the pilots, also received the aggravated life terms, Anadolu reported.