Turkey coup trial: nearly 500 in court

Turkey Detains 1000 in Latest Anti-Terror Raids

Nearly 500 people arrested after last year's failed coup in Turkey have appeared in court accused of taking part in the plot.

If convicted, numerous 486 suspects risk life terms in prison for crimes that include violating the constitution, attempted assassination of the president, trying to abolish the republic and seizing military headquarters.

"Being tried in absentia is Fethullah Gulen, a cleric the government calls the plot's mastermind". Gulen, who is based in a secluded compound in the USA state of Pennsylvania, strongly denies the charges.

Established in 1960 in a distant suburb of Ankara, the Akinci Air Base was closed down after the coup and changed its name to Murted Base Command. Turkey's military chief Gen. Hulusi Akar and other commanders were held captive for several hours at the base on the night of the coup.

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The other defendants include generals and fighter jet pilots at the Akinci air base, on the outskirts of Ankara, the capital, who are accused of directing the coup and bombing key government buildings, including the parliament. Businessman Kemal Batmaz is meanwhile accused of assisting Oksuz.

"It is very important for our country to entirely shed light on the events of the 15th treason (coup attempt), this is why we are asking Washington to deliver us this individual", a source close to the government explained to Xinhua, regretting that until now very little help has been provided from the United States. The attempted coup left 249 people dead, the Turkish presidency says, not including 24 coup-plotters killed on the night.

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. A total of 1,300 security personnel were deployed inside and outside the courtroom. Turkish officers at the base loyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were allegedly held hostage.

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