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Turkey jails ex-soldiers for life over 2016 coup bid

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to Gulen since 2016, and police raids continue to this day

AFP , Wednesday 7 Apr 2021
Erdogan
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters during the Grand Congress of his ruling AK Party in Ankara, Turkey, March 24, 2021. REUTERS
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A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced four former soldiers to life in jail for their roles in a failed 2016 bid to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, state news agency Anadolu reported.

They were jailed as part of a trial of 497 suspects in Ankara looking into the presidential guard's actions during the coup attempt, which included a raid on the state broadcaster.

The judge sentenced former lieutenant colonel Umit Gencer to life imprisonment for "violating the constitutional order" after he made the TRT broadcaster read the "coup declaration".

The court also handed ex-major Fedakar Akca an aggravated life sentence after he led the team from the regiment to the general staff headquarters on the night, Anadolu reported.

An aggravated life sentence has tougher terms of detention and replaced the death penalty after it was abolished in 2004.

The failed coup left 248 people dead, excluding 24 putschists killed on the night.

Turkey accuses US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen of masterminding the failed coup, a claim he strongly denies.

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to Gulen since 2016, and police raids continue to this day.

More than 100,000 have been sacked or suspended from the public sector over similar allegations.

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