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28 Turkey soldiers get life terms for bid to overtake airport
November 30, 2017
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ISTANBUL: A Turkish court on Wednesday handed down life sentences to 28 soldiers for trying to take control of Istanbul’s second airport during last year’s failed coup, local media reported.

Eight were sentenced in Istanbul to aggravated life imprisonment, which carries harsher conditions and replaced the death penalty in Turkey, while the other 20 were given life sentences for “violating the constitution,” the private Dogan news agency said.

The soldiers were convicted of trying to occupy by force Sabiha Gokcen International Airport on the Asian side of Istanbul on the night of the July 15, 2016 failed putsch.

Turkey blames the failed coup to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. He strongly denies the claim.

Meanwhile, Turkish police detained 172 people in the latest operation targeting supporters of Gulen within the army, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.

The Istanbul prosecutor’s office issued detention warrants for a total of 360 people, including 333 soldiers, of which 216 were active-duty personnel, Anadolu said. Some ten of the suspects were abroad.

Istanbul police officers were continuing operations to capture the suspects, it said.

The private Dogan news agency said seven of those facing arrest were pilots.

Separately, Erdogan and German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier discussed the need to improve ties between their countries and take mutual steps to that end during a phone call on Wednesday, Turkish presidential sources said.

Aside from bilateral relations, the sources said, Erdogan also briefed Steinmeier about a summit on Syria’s conflict held by Turkey, Russia and Iran in the southern Russian city of Sochi on Nov.22.


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