TURKEY

Outrage as smiling Erdoğan assassination plotter appears in ‘hero’ T-shirt before trial

OUTRAGE AS SMILING ERDOĞAN ASSASSINATION PLOTTER APPEARS IN ‘HERO’ T-SHIRT BEFORE TRIAL

One of the suspected members of the team which had been sent to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the putsch bid on July 15 appeared before trial Thursday wearing a T-shirt that read: 'Hero.'

Gökhan Güçlü, who was wearing the T-shirt, and 43 other defendants stood before Muğla Second Heavy Penal Court as a third trial over Erdoğan assassination plot began.

The writing and the fact that Güçlü was smiling while being escorted by gendarmerie officials to the court, sparked outrage, including inside the courtroom, where Mustafa Doğan İnal, one of the presidential lawyers, pointed the writing out to the judge. As a heated argument started inside the courtroom, the chief judge called for a five minute break and to empty the room.

However, the in-room tension continued after the break. The chief judge then ordered to remove Güçlü from the courtroom and called for a lunch break.

Two teams of pro-coup troops were dispatched to the Marmaris vacation resort where Erdoğan was staying in attempts to kill him. Their mission failed when Erdoğan fled after being informed that a coup attempt was unfolding.

The indictment against the soldiers says that Fetullah Gülen, the elusive FETÖ leader, had personally approved the plan to capture or assassinate Erdoğan during the putsch attempt, as he did for other coup plans. Gülen is also believed to have ordered the seizure of strategic locations from the presidential palace to the army's headquarters.

Gülen is the prime suspect in the coup case and he faces life imprisonment. However, as in several other cases where he faces terror charges, Gülen has abstained from attending. He currently resides in Pennsylvania, and Turkey is seeking his extradition from the U.S.

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