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Turkish court indicts 19 former soldiers over coup attempt

Turkey has arrested over 50,000 people since last year's failed coup attempt [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 28 October, 2017

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Prosecutors in Istanbul are seeking a a number of heavy sentences against ex-soldiers who allegedly commandeered Turkish military aircraft as part of last year's failed coup.

A Turkish court on Friday indicted 19 former members of the Turkish Air force in connection with last year's failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Among those indicted are eight former soldiers who fled to Greece, according to a judicial official cited by Turkey's state-owned Anadolu news agency.

The soldiers, who fled Turkey in a Black Hawk helicopter they had commandeered, were named as Ahmet Guzel, Gencay Boyuk, Feridun Coban, Abdullah Yetik, Ugur Ucan, Suleyman Ozkaynakci, Mesut Firatand and Bilal Kurugul.

Turkey has so far been unseccessful in its attempts to have the ex-soldiers extradited.

The suspects could face three aggravated life sentences each, in line with the indictment submitted to to Istanbul's 33rd Criminal Court, the unnamed Anadolu source said.

Prosecutors are also seeking further sentences for other charges, including membership of an armed terrorist group, attempted murder and fleeing to another country.

Since last year's failed coup attempt, Turkey has carried out a far-reaching crackdown on individuals suspected of supporting exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Gulen, who is in self-imposed exile in the US, is accused by Ankara of masterminding the failed putsch.

The crackdown, however, has also controversially led to the arrests of many journalists, human rights defenders and politicians.

The crackdown has seen over 50,000 arrested and nearly 2,000 NGOs shut down.

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