Trial of 486 suspects in Turkish coup attempt begins in Ankara

Saul Bowman
August 2, 2017

Almost 500 suspects including army generals and pilots went on trial in Turkey on Tuesday, many of them accused of commanding last year's failed coup attempt from an air base in the capital Ankara.

If convicted, numerous 486 suspects risk life terms in prison for crimes that include violating the constitution, attempted assassination of the president, trying to abolish the republic and seizing military headquarters.

The case centers around the Akinci air base, northwest of the capital, which the government says the coup plotters used as their headquarters. Turkish President accuses Gulen of masterminding the coup attempt.

Following the July 15 coup, Turkey has arrested some 50,000 people and sacked or suspended more than 150,000 in the military, civil service and private sector as part of a sweeping crackdown that has anxious rights groups and some Western nations.

The coup was executed outside the chain of command.

Of the 486 facing charges now, 461 are currently imprisoned, 18 have been released with judicial supervision, and seven are on the run, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.


Last July, orders were allegedly sent out from Akinci air base, north-west of Ankara, to bomb parliament as troops attempted to oust President Erdogan.

The government declared a state of emergency after the coup attempt and embarked on a large-scale crackdown that has alarmed Western allies of Ankara, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and candidate for European Union membership. Some 30 coup plotters were also killed.

The trial involves 461 people now imprisoned, 18 released under judicial supervision and seven fugitives.

Photos from outside the court today showed a long line of defendants led into the courtroom with security forces clad in green berets and red vests gripping each of their arms.

The mass purge took place even as Turkey's government moved to extend the ongoing state of emergency by another three months, with President Erdogan saying the sweeping powers will only be lifted when "unrest ends".

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