UPDATES WITH MORE DETAILS
By Tanju Ozkaya and Serdar Acil
ANKARA (AA) - A Turkish court on Thursday slapped several military officers and civilians who helped plot and carry out the deadly 2016 coup attempt by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), each with dozens of aggravated life sentences.
In the trial on the role of officers at the Akinci Air base, which served as a headquarters for the failed July 15 attempt, the court in the capital Ankara handed 79 aggravated life sentences to 15 former soldiers, including pilots who bombed Ankara, and four civilian covert imams, who were present at the base to manage the coup attempt.
All of them were also sentenced to 3,901 years and six months in prison for “attempting to intentionally kill”, “attempting to deprive a person of liberty” and “depriving a person of liberty.”
Former pilot Capt. Huseyin Turk -- who bombed the Turkish Grand National Assembly, TURKSAT and the Presidency of the Police Special Operations Department -- former pilot Maj. Mustafa Azimetli -- who used the laser-guided system to target the Police Aviation Department -- and ex-pilot Lt. Col. Hasan Husnu Balikci -- who bombed the Turkish Grand National Assembly for the second time – were handed 79 aggravated life sentences and 3,901 years and six months in prison.
Former pilot Capt. Ugur Uzunoglu, who bombed the Police Special Operations Department while being on the same plane with Huseyin Turk, was also given 45 aggravated life sentences and 1,170 years in prison for deliberate killing 44 people, attempting to violate the constitutional order and attempting deliberate murder.
Meanwhile, former fighter pilot Muslim Macit, who martyred 15 people near the presidential complex during the coup attempt, received 16 aggravated life sentences.
Macit had dropped two MK-82 bombs from his jet on an intersection and a parking lot in the vicinity of the presidential complex, also injuring seven.
The court also sentenced former lieutenant Mustafa Mete Kaygusuz, who sent the bombing instructions to the F-16 jets hijacked by the putschists during the coup attempt, to 79 aggravated life sentences.
Former Incirlik 10th Tanker Base Commander Bekir Ercan Van, who provided fuel to the pilots, was handed 79 aggravated life sentences.
Also, civilians Kemal Batmaz, Hakan Cicek, Nurettin Oruc, Harun Binis, who led the coup attempt from Akinci Base, each received 79 aggravated life sentences.
According to the indictment, these four members of FETO, also known as imams, as well as the fugitive Adil Oksuz, operated in the terror group's civilian wing, making preparations for the coup after a green light from the US-based FETO leader Fethullah Gulen.
This was one of the major trials related to the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016.
At Akinci, an air base north of the capital Ankara, the coup-plotters established a command center to coordinate attacks, including fighter jets that attacked parliament and the presidential complex. The base was later renamed Murted Base.
Some of the most senior plotters are said to have been at the base, and it was also where Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar was held hostage.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were martyred and nearly 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 Havva Kara Aydin