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Turkey: First July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge Case Hearing Held

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Aggravated life sentences sought for 143 suspects who allegedly martyred 34 people during deadly July 2016 coup bid.

The first hearing in a major case over last year’s defeated coup, centered around deadly confrontations on one of Istanbul’s major bridges, was held today in Turkey’s largest metropolis.

The night of the coup bid by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), 34 people were martyred on the July 15 Martyrs' Bridge -- then called the Bosphorus Bridge -- including prominent advertiser Erol Olcok and his son Abdullah Tayyip Olcok.

All but two of the martyrs were civilians; the remaining two were police officers.

Prosecutors are seeking 37 aggravated life sentences for each of the 143 suspects, including 135 suspects remanded in custody.

A total of 137 suspects, including two not remanded in custody, attended Monday’s hearing at Istanbul’s 25th Criminal Court.

The July 15 Martyrs' Bridge was closed during the night of the coup bid by soldiers around 10.00 p.m. local time (1900GMT).

The 1,000-page-plus indictment accuses the suspects, including 30 military officers and 47 military cadets, of deliberate killing as well as attempting to overthrow the Turkish government and parliament.

Prison sentences are being sought for some of the suspects on charges of attempted armed murder and property damage.

Security camera footage and photographs from that night are cited in the indictment.

Incidents on the bridge were among the deadliest attacks carried out by pro-coup forces.

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization, led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, orchestrated the defeated coup, which left at least 250 people martyred and around 2,200 others wounded.

The government also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

 

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