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Turkey jails two commanders for life in first ruling over coup attempt
January 5, 2017 / 2:04 PM / a year ago

Turkey jails two commanders for life in first ruling over coup attempt

ANKARA (Reuters) - Two senior Turkish military officers were jailed for life on Thursday for involvement in July’s failed coup attempt that killed almost 250 people, marking the first conviction related to the putsch, news agencies said.

The court found that a colonel and a major had been assigned duties as provincial commanders after the intended overthrow of President Tayyip Erdogan. It described them as members of a network headed by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused of orchestrating the failed coup, media reports said.

The court in eastern city of Erzurum could not be immediately reached for comment.

The trial marked the first time a court had passed sentence over the operation launched in the evening of July 15 and crushed by the morning. Parliament was bombed and armed clashes resulted in the deaths of civilians and soldiers in one of the most traumatic incidents of modern Turkish history.

Erdogan has declared a state of emergency and launched a crackdown, dismissing or suspending some 120,000 people including soldiers, police, teachers and judges. Several thousand have been restored to their posts but arrests continue with reports on Thursday of warrants issued for 380 businessmen.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied the charge and condemned the coup.

Ankara has repeatedly called on Washington to hand Gulen over. The United States has said that extraditions are subject to the judicial process and therefore must meet with its standards of evidence.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay; editing by Ralph Boulton

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