Turkish court sentences two army officers to life in prison over role in July's failed military coup

Troops expected to be first in long line of suspects handed heavy sentences

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The Independent Online

A Turkish court has sentenced two former military officers to life in prison, in the first convictions over July’s failed military coup.

The colonel and major were convicted of attempting to abolish Turkey’s “constitutional order”, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

The two defendants have denied the accusation. 

Turkey coup - 60 dead in 'act of treason' against the government

The troops are expected to be the first in a long line of suspects handed heavy sentences for their roles in the uprising.

Ex-Col Murat Kocak and ex-Maj Murat Yilmaz were on duty at Erzurum’s gendarmerie command – which used to be part of the army – during the unsuccessful putsch.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime blames the military action on US-based Imam Fethullah Gülen, and since the coup has embarked on a radical mission to purge enemies of the administration from public life.

According to the Anadolu Agency, more than 41,000 people have been arrested over suspected links to the exiled Islamic preacher.

Yet the true figure may be far higher, with some reports claiming there more than 70,000 have been arrested and imprisoned.

The number of arrestees is in addition to more than 100,000 judges, police officers, journalists, academics and teachers, along with other public officials.

The extend of the crackdown has been met with concern from the international community, particularly since President Erdogan has said he is considering bringing back the death penalty for the perpetrators of the putsch.

Trials of those charged are expected to continue for months.

In December, the high-profile trail of 29 Turkish police officers began who are accused of failing to defend President Erdogan during the attempted coup.

A major trial is set to begin in February to determine if 47 suspects attempted to assassinate the country's controversial leader.

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