An ex-military officer in Turkey who directed pilots lifting off from a now-infamous airbase in the deadly July 15 coup attempt by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), received 79 aggravated life sentences.
In a trial last week of officers at the Akinci Airbase, which served as a headquarters for the failed 2016 attempt, the court in the capital Ankara on Thursday handed aggravated life sentences to several officers, including former Lt. Col. Hakan Karakus, and civilians who helped plot and carry it out.
Karakus — the son-in-law of former Air Force Commander Gen. Akin Ozturk who was a key figure in plotting the coup within the military — received 79 aggravated life sentences and sentenced to 3,901 years in prison.
According to the details compiled by Anadolu Agency from the case files, Karakus was stationed at the base, which served as the main jet deployment of the capital Ankara, until July 15 and held meetings with other coup plotters including former Gen. Hakan Evrim, Akinci’s commanding officer.
Flying to the northwestern Balikesir province with Mustafa Azimetli — who was also convicted in the Akinci trial — just before the coup attempt, Karakus installed a “sniper pod” device that allowed the F-16 jets to hit targets with full accuracy and ensured that the aircraft were loaded with ammunition before the coup attempt began.
On July 14, 2016, he also arranged the places for the generals detained during the coup attempt to be held.
Darbe girişimi günü örgüte sadık pilotlarla bir araya gelerek görev dağılımı yapan Karakuş, olay gecesi Akıncı Üssü’ndeki uçuş kulesinde bulunanlara ve havalanan darbeci pilotlara emirler verdi. Karakuş, ayrıca Adana’dan kalkan tanker uçaklarının Ankara’ya gelmesini sağladı.
Karakus ordered the pilots under his orders to hit the presidential complex, after which he told the pilots “well done,” according to the radio conversations.
On the morning of July 16, former fighter pilot Muslim Macit martyred 15 people near the site when he dropped two MK-82 bombs on an intersection and parking lot in the vicinity of the presidential complex, injuring seven others as well.
After the coup was defeated, Karakus was arrested by security forces.
Denying his role in the putsch, he dismissed the radio conversations as montage — a claim later disproved by forensic scientists.
The Turkish court handed 79 aggravated life sentences to Karakus for attempting to violate the constitutional order, attempting to assassinate the president and martyring 77 people.
He was also sentenced to 3,901 years and six months in prison for “attempting to intentionally kill,” “attempting to deprive a person of liberty” and “depriving a person of liberty.”
Separately, 1,511 convicts were handed jail terms ranging from 14 months to 20 years, while some defendants were acquitted in nationwide cases.
The remaining cases continue in the capital Ankara, Istanbul and seven other provinces.
In July this year, former Air Force Commander Gen. Akin Ozturk — the key officer who plotted the coup inside the military — Ahmet Ozcetin, Ali Osman Gurcan, Bilal Akyuz, Cemil Turhan, Erhan Caha, Firat Alakus, Hakan Evrim, Kubilay Selcuk, Mehmet Disli, Mehmet Partigoc, Omer Faruk Harmancik, Murat Kocyigit, Mustafa Baris Avialan, Orhan Yikilkan, Sinan Surer, and Muhsin Kutsi Baris received 141 aggravated life sentences.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and some 2,200 injured.
Turkey accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
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