Izmir (Turkey), Aug. 5: A court in Turkey today sentenced at least 10 defendants out of 275, including a former army chief of staff, to life in prison for their role in plotting a military coup to overthrow Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and acquitted 17.
After five years in one of Turkey’s most politically charged cases to date, the court, in a prison complex in Silivri, a western Istanbul province, sentenced some of the suspects, including Mustafa Balbay, an elected member of Parliament from the Opposition Republican People’s Party, to prison terms ranging from 6 months to 129 years.
The court issued arrest warrants for 11 suspects who had been tried without being arrested.
Security forces fired tear gas at protesters after the announcement of the verdicts, which included life sentences for Ilker Basbug, who served as military chief of staff under the current government; Veli Kucuk, the lead suspect in the trial and a former brigadier general suspected of founding Jitem, a wing of the Turkish gendarmerie; Hursit Tolon, a former army commander; Kemal Kerincsiz, a lawyer who has filed complaints against 40 writers for “insulting Turkishness”, and Tuncay Ozkan, a journalist.
Ozkan was additionally sentenced to more than 11 years in prison on other charges, his defence attorney said.
Balbay was sentenced to 34 years and 8 months in prison. Dogu Perincek, chairman of the left-wing Workers’ Party, received a 117-year prison term.
At least seven journalists were handed prison terms between 6 months to 22 years, news outlets reported.