TURKEY

The Turkish court sentences many FETO suspects to life in jail over Erdoğan death plot

THE TURKISH COURT SENTENCES MANY FETO SUSPECTS TO LIFE IN JAIL OVER ERDOĞAN DEATH PLOT

A Turkish court on Wednesday handed life sentences to dozens of FETO suspects for plotting to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at a Aegean hotel during last year's failed coup.

A court in southwestern Turkey sentenced 40 people to life in prison Wednesday, convicting them of charges that include attempting to kill President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during last year's failed coup.

A total of 46 suspects — 37 of them former military personnel — have been on trial since February in the city of Muğla accused of attempted assassination, violation of the constitution and other crimes against the state during the July 15, 2016, coup attempt.

Receiving four sentences apiece were former Brig. Gen. Gökhan Şahin Sönmezateş, former Maj. Şükrü Seymen, and former Master Sgt. Zekeriya Kuzu -- the so-called "base imam" of Çiğli's 2nd Main Jet Base Command in Aegean province of Izmir.

The court also sentenced Ali Yazıcı, Erdoğan's former military aide, to 18 years in prison.

The defendants were accused of using helicopters to attack the hotel in the resort of Marmaris where Erdoğan and his family members were staying, killing two policemen. Erdogan had left the hotel shortly before it was attacked.

That night Erdoğan told the nation on live television he had narrowly escaped with his life when the hotel was bombed 15 minutes after he left the premises.

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, orchestrated the foiled coup attempt, which left at least 250 people martyred and around 2,200 others wounded.

The government also 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.

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