By Ismet Karakas and Baris Kilic
ANKARA (AA) - A Turkish court has sentenced a former general to 79 aggravated life terms and over 3,900 years in prison for orchestrating the 2016 coup bid in Turkey.
In a trial last week of officers at the Akinci Airbase, which served as headquarters for the failed coup attempt by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the court handed down aggravated life sentences to several individuals, including former Brig. Gen. Kemal Mutlum and civilians who helped plot and carry out the scheme.
According to the details compiled by Anadolu Agency from the case files, Mutlum took control of the Air Force Operations Center on the defeated coup night and held meetings with coup plotters from other units.
He also banned entry and exit to and from the center and prohibited the on-duty staff from using phones.
Mutlum also made contacts with the Diyarbakir 8th Main Jet Base to allow fellow coup plotter Gen. Semih Terzi to bring troop reinforcements to Ankara.
He also gave instructions to Ozkan Edip Akgulay from the Diyarbakir base to block then-Interior Minister Efkan Ala's plane and force it for landing in Malatya.
According to witnesses heard during the investigation and trial, Mutlum was involved in FETO's air force command structure before the coup attempt.
Denying his role in the coup, he dismissed the radio conversations as fake -- a claim later disproved by forensic scientists.
The Turkish court handed 79 aggravated life sentences to Mutlum for attempt to violate the constitutional order, attempt to assassinate the president and martyring 77 people.
He was also sentenced to 3,901 years and six months in prison for attempt to intentionally kill, attempt to deprive a person of liberty and depriving a person of liberty.
Separately, 1,511 convicts were handed jail terms ranging from 14 months to 20 years, while some defendants were acquitted in nationwide cases.
The remaining cases continue in the capital Ankara, Istanbul and seven other provinces.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and some 2,200 injured.
Turkey accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
*Writing by Burak Bir