Key trial of last year's coup attempt begins in Ankara

Turkish Police Detained Almost 600 People Last Week Over Suspected Links to FETO

A key trial started in Turkey on Tuesday, with 486 suspects facing a range of serious charges related to the failed coup attempt a year ago.

Numerous suspects Tuesday face life in prison for crimes including murder and attempting to overthrow the government.

The case centers around the Akinci air base, northwest of the capital, which the government says the coup plotters used as their headquarters. Gulen is being tried in absentia, and denies any role in the coup attempt. Then, it suspended or fired about 150,000 people from their jobs, NPR's Peter Kenyon reported, and arrested more than 50,000.

A total of 461 defendants are behind bars while 18 were freed pending the outcome of the trial. "Most are military officers who were stationed at an airbase where fighter jets took off, and bombed parliament, on the night of the attempted coup last summer".

Those held in custody include former air force chief Akin Ozturk who, like several suspects, is also on trial in another case related to the coup bid.

Businessman Kemal Batmaz, meanwhile, is accused of assisting Oksuz.

Another chief suspect is theology lecturer Adil Oksuz, whom Turkish officials accuse of being the so-called "imam" of the plot by coordinating the action on the ground in Turkey with Gulen.

The trial involves 461 people now imprisoned, 18 released under judicial supervision and seven fugitives. A total of 1,300 security personnel were deployed inside and outside the courtroom.

"It is very important for our country to entirely shed light on the events of the 15th treason (coup attempt), this is why we are asking Washington to deliver us this individual", a source close to the government explained to Xinhua, regretting that until now very little help has been provided from the United States. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has floated bringing back the death penalty, though Peter reports that the European Union has warned that "such a move would kill off Turkey's bid to join the union".

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