Alleged putschist soldiers taking part in Turkey’s al-Bab operation

The trial of the 62 soldiers accused of taking part in the occupation of Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the night of the attempted coup on 15 July last year has begun. The prosecution is demanding aggravated life sentences for the defendants.

Of the 62 soldiers being tried for the occupation of the airport on the night of the attempted coup, 28 are in detention, while the remaining 34 are being tried without arrest of which only 15 attended the first day of the trial.

The Chief Judge in the case, Ali Ozturk, has said that they were unable to serve a summons to some of the soldiers being tried in the case as they were currently taking part in Turkey’s military operations in Northern Syria and were therefore outside the country.

Judge Ozturk said that a summons was served to the Nurettin Baransel Barracks of the 2nd Armoured Brigade where the soldiers are on duty, but in the response to the summons the court was told that the soldiers were currently on duty as part of Turkey’s al-Bab operations. The judge said that a second summons was not served as they had no jurisdiction to do so outside the borders of Turkey.

The prosecution accuses the soldiers of attempting to occupy the airport in order to prevent state officials from travelling on the day of the attempted coup. The aggravated life sentence is wanted by the prosecution for all the defendants for “attempting to abolish constitutional order”, “attempting to abolish government”, and “being a member of an armed terror group”.