486 suspects on trial in key case of failed Turkish coup

486 suspects on trial in key case of failed Turkish coup

The charges range from murder to violating the Turkish constitution to attempting to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The trial for almost 500 suspects, including a number of generals and military pilots, accused of leading last year's failed coup attempt in Turkey and carrying out attacks from an air base in the capital Ankara started on Tuesday.

A total of 461 suspects jailed pending trial were brought to the courthouse, handcuffed and each flanked by two gendarme officers. He rejects the charges and denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

The key suspect is Fethullah Gulen, a US -based preacher, who is accused by the Turkish government of orchestrating the failed military coup.

The trial is one of dozens that are under way in Turkey in relation to the failed putsch that resulted in about 250 deaths in July 2016.

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Following the July 15 coup, Turkey has arrested some 50,000 people and sacked or suspended more than 150,000 in the military, civil service and private sector as part of a sweeping crackdown that has anxious rights groups and some Western nations.

Critics say Mr Erdogan is using the purge that followed the coup to stifle political dissent.

The trial centres around the Akinci air base which, the government alleges, was the plotters' headquarters.

Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar and other senior commanders were held hostage at the base during the coup attempt, before they were freed on the morning on July 16.

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