On Monday, 104 former Turkish military officers were handed “aggravated life sentences” for participating in an attempted coup on July 15, 2016, according to state media report.
The court gave lesser sentences to 52 of the 280 defendants. Twenty-one people were given 20-year sentences for “assisting the assassination of the president” while 31 others got between seven and 11 years for “membership of a terrorist organization,” the state news agency, Anadolu, disclosed.
An “aggravated life sentence,” which replaces the death penalty that was abolished in 2004, attracts harsher conditions than a normal life sentence. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has, in recent times, advocated for the reintroduction of the death penalty for coup plotters.
The failed coup resulted in the deaths of at least 260 people as well as cause injuries to another 2,200.
As a result, the government employed severe measures in a crackdown on alleged coup supporters by greenlighting the dismissal of over 150,000 state employees and the arrest of 50,000 others.
Turkish authorities have accused a movement loyal to the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of organizing the attempted takeover. However, Gulen – who is in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999 – denies any involvement in the plot.
Erdogan was reportedly vacationing in Marmaris with his family when the the coup was attempted, but allegedly left the location 15 minutes prior to the execution of the plot.