Turkey Puts Gulen, 269 others on Trial over Coup Bid
Turkey Monday opened the biggest trial yet over the failed July coup aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, trying 270 suspects including, in absentia, the alleged mastermind Fethullah Gulen.
The suspects, 152 of whom are in pre-trial detention, include ex high-ranking military officials like former Aegean Army Command Chief of Staff Major General Memduh Hakbilen, the state news agency Anadolu reported.
Also going on trial was ex-NATO Land Commander Chief of Staff Major General Salih Sevil.
The "number one" suspect is US-based Islamic preacher Gulen who is charged with ordering the failed July 15 coup, an accusation he strongly denies.
Ankara also accuses the movement Gulen leads of being a "terror organization" although the group insists it is a peaceful organization promoting ‘moderate Islam.'
Those on trial in the western city of Izmir face multiple charges including being a member of the "armed terror group".
Turkey has repeatedly asked the United States to extradite Gulen, who has been living in self-imposed exile there since 1999.
The previous administration of Barack Obama had insisted that a possibly slow legal process should take its course but Ankara is hoping for a more eager response to its extradition request from new President Donald Trump.
Gulen previously went on trial in absentia in January last year over corruption allegations that hit Erdogan in 2013.
The Turkish justice ministry also sent new evidence to Washington for Gulen's return including the indictment for the Izmir case, Anadolu reported Monday.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team