Turkey coup trial: nearly 500 to appear in court

The mass trial, which kicked off at a purpose-built courtroom outside Ankara on August 1, is the largest yet relating to last year's failed putsch against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Hundreds of people stood trial in in a makeshift Turkish court today accused of leading last year's failed military coup.

Families of those killed or wounded during the coup attempt protested outside the courthouse, some throwing ropes toward the defendants demanding that the death penalty be reinstated and that they be hanged.

The government declared a state of emergency after the coup attempt and embarked on a large-scale crackdown that has alarmed Western allies of Ankara, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and candidate for European Union membership. Seven defendants are still on the run, while another 18 have been charged but not in jail.

The trial centres around the Akinci air base which, the government alleges, was the plotters' headquarters.

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Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Muslim cleric-turned-businessman accused of ordering the attempted July 15 attempt, is among the main suspects named in the indictment.

Turkey is set to hold its largest trial over the July 2016 coup attempt, with almost 500 people set to appear in court.

Critics say Mr Erdogan is using the purge that followed the coup to stifle political dissent.

Military chief Gen Hulusi Akar and other senior officers were held hostage at the base for several hours on the night that the coup took place.

  • Sonia Alvarado