34 Turkish soldiers sentenced to life for trying to kill Erdogan

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan

A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced 34 former soldiers to four-time aggravated life imprisonment each over charges that include attempting to kill President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a coup attempt last year, local media reported.

Ali Yazici, the president’s former chief aide was given 18 years in prison, while a former lieutenant colonel was acquitted in the trial of a total of 47 suspects by the court in Turkey’s southwestern province of Mugla, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

The defendants, who are accused of forming a hit squad to kill the president, have also been charged with trying to remove the constitution and belonging to an armed terrorist organization, press reports said.

Erdogan was on vacation with his family in Mugla’s popular resort town of Marmaris when some in the military launched a coup bid on the night of July 15 last year.

The president and his family left in a helicopter 15 minutes before his hotel was surrounded, but two policemen were killed in the assault.

Turkey believes that the coup attempt, in which 250 people were killed, was orchestrated by the U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers in the military.

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