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Prosecutor seeks aggravated life for 59 defendants in corruption probe trial

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An İstanbul prosecutor is seeking aggravated life sentences for 59 defendants including Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and police chiefs on charges of attempting to overthrow the government due to their alleged involvement in a corruption investigation that became public knowledge on Dec. 25, 2013, the Anatolia news agency reported on Thursday.

In December 2013, Turkey was shaken by the revelation of two corruption investigations, on Dec. 17 and 25, in which the inner circle of then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were implicated.

After Erdoğan cast the investigations as a coup attempt to overthrow his government orchestrated by his political enemies, namely the Gülen movement inspired by the views of Fethullah Gülen, the prosecutors and judges were removed from the case, police were reassigned and the corruption investigations were dropped. Later, the police officers, judges and prosecutors who took part in the investigations were all jailed.

Gülen strongly denied any involvement in the corruption investigations.

In the latest hearing of the trial of 71 defendants, 13 of whom are jailed including former police chief Yakub Saygılı, prosecutor Ramazan Gökçe presented his opinion and asked for aggravated life sentences for the 59 defendants on charges of attempting to overthrow the government of Turkey.

President Erdoğan, his son Bilal, son-in-law and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and some businessmen are co-plaintiffs in the trial.

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