Turkish court finds 42 former soldiers guilty of trying to kill Erdogan during last year’s failed coup.
By Arutz Sheva North America Staff – Arutz Sheva
A Turkish court on Wednesday found 42 former soldiers guilty of trying to kill President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during last year’s failed coup, Reuters reported.
Most of them were handed life sentences in the highest profile case related to the attempted putsch so far.
Judge Emirsah Bastog read out guilty verdicts for 42 of the 47 defendants, according to a Reuters reporter at the court in Mugla, southwestern Turkey.
The trial, which started in February and included Erdogan as a co-plaintiff, is part of a sweeping security crackdown that followed the failed putsch of July 2016. It is the biggest such case to reach a conclusion so far.
Turkey has dismissed more thousands of police, ministry staff and academics since the July 2016 attempted coup.
The Turkish authorities accuse a movement loyal to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of organizing the July 2016 plot to bring down Erdogan.
Gulen, who leads from exile a popular movement called Hizmet and split from Erdogan over a corruption scandal in 2013, has denied involvement in the coup and has hinted that the uprising by members of the country’s military could have been “staged” by the government.
Washington has so far resisted calls from the Turkish authorities to extradite him.
34 of the accused were sentenced to “aggravated” life sentences, Reuters reported, the harshest punishment possible under Turkish law because it lengthens the minimum sentence required for parole.
Another six defendants were given life terms while two others were given lesser sentences.
No verdict was given for three who were tried in absentia, including Gulen.
Erdogan’s lawyer, who was present at the case, said that justice had been served.
“Had these putschists succeeded that night in the attack against our president, history would have changed, we would be living in a different Turkey now,” Huseyin Aydin told Reuters.