Senior Turkish officers face life terms on coup charges

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An indictment against former senior air force commanders said to have sent jets from southeast Turkey to Ankara on the night of the July 15 coup attempt has been accepted by a court.

The court in Diyarbakir accepted the charges against Maj. Gen. Atilla Darendeli, Brig. Gen. Deniz Kartepe and Cols. Ali Durmus and Bulent Gurdogan.

They were based at Diyarbakir air base at the time of the coup and are alleged to have diverted six F-16 jets to patrol the skies of Ankara on the night of the attempted coup.

Darendeli, commander of the 8th Main Jet Base, and Kartepe are accused of having met three days before the coup attempt to plan sending “urgent, same day” service flights to Dalaman air base in the Aegean province of Mugla.

These flights were outside the routine schedule and are said to be linked to the assassination attempt on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was vacationing in nearby Marmaris at the time.

According to the indictment, Durmus is said to have referred to the assassination attempt when he told Kartepe in a telephone conversation: “We will take a major head.”

The four defendants are currently in custody. They are accused of membership of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) that Ankara has said orchestrated the coup attempt; attempting to abolish the constitutional order; and attempting to overthrow parliament and the government.

They each face three aggravated life sentences if convicted.

Since the attempted coup was thwarted, tens of thousands of people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement or links to FETO.

2017.03.22 / 22:30
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