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58 including air force cadets sentenced to consecutive life sentences

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An İstanbul court handed down aggravated life sentences to 23 military members and life sentences to 35 military personnel for attempting to change the constitutional order by means of a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Ninety-three military personnel were tried by the Istanbul 24th High Criminal Court on accusations of playing a role in the occupation of the TRT and Digitürk broadcasting buildings in İstanbul on July 15, 2016.

The court also handed down prison sentences of between 11 years, eight months, and 16 years to 16 military members for “attempting to kill people,” and prison sentences of between four and five years to 56 military personnel for “illegally preventing a broadcaster from broadcasting.”

Acquitting 35 military members, the court also sentenced two officers and a cadet to three years for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The air force cadets said they were taken to Istanbul in buses from Yalova and that they did not know they were part of a coup attempt.

The cadets said the only surprising thing on July 15, 2016 was an unplanned morning visit by Air Forces Commander Gen. Abidin Ünal to their training camp in Yalova.

Turkish media reported claims that during a speech to cadets in Yalova on July 15, Ünal underlined the importance of carrying out the orders of their commanders.

Columnist Ahmet Nesin on Jan. 17 wrote on the Artıgerçek news website that during his unplanned visit Ünal told the commander of the camp to cancel all training activities in the afternoon: “He told the commander ‘Do not tire the boys, they will get tired this evening’.”

Relatives of the soldiers were shocked by the verdicts.

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