Ankara – Dozens of officers and soldiers went on trial in Istanbul for their alleged role in the failed military coup in July. Turkish authorities insisted that Fethullah Gulen, who resided in the U.S. since 1999, is the mastermind of the failed coup and they demanded the U.S. administration to extradite him.
The 62 officers allegedly seized control of Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the night of the attempt, as a part of the overall plan put by coup plotters.
Early trial sessions were held on December 26 for 29 police officers for being involved in the failed attempt – also, a number of trials were held in other Turkish cities for up to 60 detainees.
Among the 29 detainees, 21 are facing sentences of life imprisonment for taking part in the attempt to oust the regime and prevent it from performing its duties. The other eight are facing sentences of 15 years in prison for belonging to an armed terrorist group.
For his part, Fethullah Gulen denied accusation of plotting for the attempted coup and requested an unbiased international investigation – Meanwhile, Washington is looking into documents presented by Ankara to extradite Gulen but this might take a long time before reaching a decision.
Following the attempted coup, Turkish authorities carried out a purge in the army, police, justice, education and various state institutions. Up to 42,000 were put in pre-trial detention and more than 100,000 were dismissed from their jobs.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that Turkey’s main request is that the U.S. administration cuts all ties with Fethullah Gulen.
Ankara provided pieces of evidence on Gulen plotting the failed coup.