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Erdogran Assassination Plot Suspects Go on Trial | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkish soldiers accused of attempting to assassinate President Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the failed last year’s July 15 coup, are escorted by gendarmes as they arrive for the first hearing of the trial in Mugla, Turkey, February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kenan Gurbuz

Ankara- In Mugla, southwestern Turkey, 47 suspects charged with attempting to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the failed coup of July 15 were put on trial. Turkish authorities accuse U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of issuing orders to Gulen movement followers in the army.

Under tight security, the defendants were bussed in to a courthouse in Mugla conference center rather than a standard courtroom to accommodate the high number of suspects — around two hundred people gathered while moving the suspects from the prison to the courthouse and they waved with the Turkish flags, calling for execution sentences against the suspects.

The Public prosecution, however, demanded a life imprisonment sentence given that Turkey has officially abolished the execution sentence during negotiations for joining the European Union (EU).

The article of impeachment mentions that around 37 soldiers are accused of having a direct role in attacking the hotel in Marmaris where Erdogan and his family existed.

“Had I stayed there ten or fifteen more minutes I would have been killed or arrested,” Erdogran stated in a T.V. interview.

Since the failed coup, more than 42,000 people have been arrested and more than 140,000 have been sacked or suspended from the military, civil service and private sector. Turkey launched its first criminal trial related to the coup in December, and more trials are expected.

Ankara demands that Washington extradites Gulen whom it accused of plotting the attempted coup – this caused tension between the two countries during the former U.S. president Barack Obama tenure.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali stated on Monday that that a new page is opened with the U.S. administration, noting that the extradition of Gulen was discussed with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) in southern Germany.