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Hundreds of people have been sentenced to life imprisonment in Turkey today in a judgment linked to a 2016 coup attempt.

Most of the defendants received at least a life sentence.

Turkish police officers stand guard near the entrance to the Sincan penal institution at the fourth heavy criminal court near Ankara, where the verdicts were rendered. (AFP via Getty Images)

Nineteen were sentenced to 79 counts of life in prison without parole after being convicted on charges of attempting to overthrow constitutional order, assassinate the president and murder, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Seventy people were acquitted, the state news agency said.

“The Turkish judiciary continues to hold traitors to account,” Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said on Twitter after the court announced the verdicts.

“No one should doubt that justice will be done and that the law and democracy will win.”

The tanks rolled through the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, the two largest cities in the country. Soldiers blocked the famous Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, while bombs fell on the parliament building Ankara, the country’s capital.

Riot police officers stand at the court entrance during the trial of 475 defendants, including generals and fighter jet pilots, in Sincan, Ankara, Turkey. (AP)

According to the indictment, the orders to bomb government buildings, including the parliament, and to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came from the Akinci air base.

Turkey The current Defense Minister, the then Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar, was kidnapped at the base during the attempted coup.

Erdogan has accused Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in the United States, of being the mastermind behind the events. Gulen has vehemently denied the charges.

Gulen was a close ally of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, with his supporters helping to staff the bureaucratic ranks, but the association turned hostile in 2013.

Since the coup attempt, the government has cracked down on the cleric’s followers.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. (AP)

About 100,000 have been arrested and 150,000 fired from government posts, including the army, after the coup attempt, according to the Interior Ministry.

Turkish courts They have already held several mass trials for the alleged plot.

The attempted overthrow and subsequent government crackdown on the media, political opposition, academics and security forces have been a dividing force in the country.


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