486 suspects on trial in key case of failed Turkish coup
August 01 2017 12:55 PM
Defendants accompanied by gendarmerie as they arrive for their trial
Defendants accompanied by gendarmerie as they arrive for their trial


A key trial started in Turkey on Tuesday, with 486 suspects facing a range of serious charges related to the failed coup attempt last year.

Among those on trial is Akin Ozturk, a former general in the air force who is accused of being a key ringleader in the abortive putsch, which left more than 250 people dead in July 2016.

The case is focused on the Akinci airbase, which is alleged to have been a nerve centre of the putschists. According to the charges, Hulusi Akar, the chief of staff of the military, was taken hostage and brought to the base during the coup attempt.

The coup was executed outside the chain of command. The government blames US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for orchestrating the coup, though he denies the charges. Gulen was once allied with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, though the two subsequently fell out.

Outside the courtroom, protestors gathered, shouting slogans against the defendants who were brought to court under heavy security.

Several trials related to the coup are ongoing in Turkey.

Following the coup, the government instituted a strict state of emergency, granting itself wide-ranging powers.

More than 50,000 people are in jail, accused of having links to Gulen, while some 150,000 have been purged from their government jobs. About 1,000 businesses have been taken over by the state while media organizations have been shuttered and journalists arrested. 

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