Turkey tries 47 over President’s assassination attempt

Ankara, Feb 20 (IANS) A Turkish court on Monday began the trial of 47 people over their alleged involvement in plotting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s assassination during a coup attempt in July last year.

The defendants, among them 37 soldiers who formed an alleged hit squad, are mainly accused of attempting to kill the President, remove the constitutional order and kill intentionally, Xinhua news agency reported.

Six life sentences have been demanded for each of the defendants, three of whom are still on the run, court sources said.

The defendants are accused of joining efforts to raid a hotel in Turkey’s Aegean resort town of Marmaris, where Erdogan and his family were on holiday, after some in the Turkish military launched a coup attempt on the night of July 15, Xinhua reported.

The overthrow bid was crushed hours later but left nearly 250 people dead.

Erdogan said the hotel was bombed 15 minutes after he left. Two police officers in charge of the president’s security were killed during the raid.

Outside of the courthouse, a group of people staged a protest demanding a reinstated death sentence for it to be applied to the coup plotters, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

Ankara believes the coup attempt was masterminded by Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in the US, and has been pushing for his extradition.

–IANS

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