UPDATES WITH ALI KAYA CASE
By Basak Akbulut Yazar and Melike Gallenkus
ISTANBUL (AA) - An Istanbul court on Thursday sentenced 11 former military personnel to life sentences for their involvement in the defeated 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, according to judicial sources.
A total of 39 former gendarmes stood trial before the 29th Istanbul High Criminal Court.
Among the defendants was Gurcan Sercan, the commander of Istanbul's Provincial Gendarmerie Command at the time of the attempted coup.
Eleven of the convicts, including Sercan, got life sentences on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, said a judicial source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Twenty-eight also got prison sentences on charges of helping to overthrow the constitutional order and membership in a terrorist group.
Separately, a former member of the Turkish Supreme Election Council (YSK) accused of being a member of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- the group behind the defeated coup -- was sentenced to 11 years in prison by the Turkish Court of Cassation.
Since his arrest, Ali Kaya, also a former member of the Court of Cassation, has been behind bars for 32 months.
According to judicial sources, Kaya was found to be using ByLock, an encrypted cellphone app used by FETO coup plotters, an allegation he denied in court.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey also 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.