February 20, 2017 - 16:55 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The trial of more than 40 Turkish soldiers accused of attempting to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during last year's failed coup started on Monday, February 20, with prosecutors seeking life sentences, according to the indictment obtained by Reuters.
Under tight security, the defendants were bussed in to a courthouse in the southwestern city of Mugla, not far from the luxury resort where Erdogan and his family narrowly escaped the soldiers, fleeing in a helicopter shortly before their hotel was attacked.
More than 240 people were killed during the July 15 failed coup, when a group of rogue soldiers commandeered tanks, warplanes and helicopters, attacking parliament and attempting to overthrow the government.
On Monday, prosecutors in Mugla charged 47 suspects, almost all of them soldiers, with multiple charges including attempting to assassinate the president, breaching the constitution and membership of an armed terrorist organization, according to the indictment.
Turkey says the coup was orchestrated by a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The cleric, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied the charges and condemned the coup.
Since the failed coup, more than 40,000 people have been arrested and more than 100,000 have been sacked or suspended from the military, civil service and private sector.
Turkey launched its first criminal trial related to the coup in December and more trials are expected.
It was not immediately clear how the suspects would plead in the case. One of the lawyers said they were due to begin their testimony later in the day.