Turkish court issues life sentences in 2016 attempted coup trial: Anadolu

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A Turkish court handed down dozens of life sentences on Thursday for some of the nearly 500 defendants, including army commanders and pilots, accused of
carrying out a 2016 coup attempt from an air base near the capital Ankara, Anadolu news agency reported.

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More than 250 people were killed in the attempt to overthrow the government on July 15, 2016 when rogue soldiers commandeered warplanes, helicopters and tanks and sought to take control of key state institutions.

The state-owned Anadolu and other media said 25 F-16 pilots were given aggravated life sentences while four civilians were each given 79 life sentences.

Former air force commander Akin Ozturk and others at the Akinci air base near Ankara were accused of directing the coup and bombing government buildings, including parliament, and attempting to kill President Tayyip Erdogan.

The trial was the most high profile of dozens of court cases targeting thousands of people accused of involvement in the coup attempt, which Ankara blamed on supporters of the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen.

The 79-year-old cleric, who was once an ally of Erdogan and who denied any role in the coup, was one of six defendants being tried in absentia. A total of 475 people were on trial, 365 of them in custody.

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