Key Trial of Last Year’s Coup Attempt Begins in Ankara

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A total of 486 suspects are on trial, including Fetullah Gulen, currently in the US and sought for extradition

An Ankara court on Tuesday began the trial of 486 key suspects accused of taking part in last year’s coup attempt, which martyred 250 people.

The suspects — 461 of them currently in prison, 18 released under judicial supervision, and seven fugitives — are on trial over their alleged actions centered on a military base in Ankara, then known as the 4th Akinci Main Jet Base, which was used as a headquarters by some pro-coup soldiers.

Fighter jets taking off that night from Akinci — renamed Murted after the coup bid — bombed several key locations in the capital, including the parliament building. Loyal Turkish officers were also held hostage at the base.

Among the defendants on trial are two fugitives: Fetullah Gulen, seen as the main coup-plotter, who has lived in U.S. state of Pennsylvania in self-imposed exile since 1999, and is being sought for extradition, along with Adil Oksuz, another alleged major coup perpetrator.

The pilots who bombed state institutions during the night of the coup bid are also standing trial.

The trial is set to continue through Aug. 19.

The suspects are accused of being members of a terrorist organization, attempting to assassinate the president, trying to overthrow parliament, directing an armed terrorist group, damaging public property, endangering public safety, damaging houses of worship, and offenses against civil liberty.

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen plotted the coup attempt, which martyred 250 people and injured nearly 2,200 others.

FETO is also accused 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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