President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not backing down in his post coup hounding as Turkey is set for its largest trial with nearly 500 to face judges for allegedly conspiring to overthrow the government last year.
Charged with crimes ranging from murder, violating the constitution and attempting to kill Erdogan, a total of 486 suspects will go on trial in a purpose-built courtroom outside the capital Ankara, Tuesday.
Among those awaiting trial include Akin Ozturk, a former air force chief, theology lecturer Adil Oksuz, whom Turkish officials allege was the so-called “imam” of the plot and Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Muslim cleric-turned-businessman accused of ordering the coup attempt on July 15.
Two weeks ago, more than 7,563 people including police, civil servants and academics were dismissed in Turkey after the government issued a new decree under the ongoing state of emergency imposed after last year’s failed coup.
The mass purge took place even as Turkey’s government moved to extend the ongoing state of emergency by another three months, with President Erdogan saying the sweeping powers will only be lifted when “unrest ends”.
Thus far, Turkish authorities have stripped 342 retired army personnel of their ranks and in all, authorities have sacked or suspended more than 150,000 officials, and arrested some 50,000 people from the military, police, judiciary, academia and other sectors.
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