Turkey Gives 28 Life Terms to Putschists in Airport Trial

Turkey Gives 28 Life Terms to Putschists in Airport Trial

 A Turkish court on Wednesday handed down life sentences to 28 soldiers for trying to take control of Istanbul's second airport during last year's failed coup, local media reported.

Eight were sentenced in Istanbul to aggravated life imprisonment, which carries harsher conditions and replaced the death penalty in Turkey, while the other 20 were given life sentences for "violating the constitution", the private Dogan news agency said.

The soldiers were convicted of trying to occupy by force Sabiha Gokcen International Airport on the Asian side of Istanbul on the night of the July 15, 2016 failed putsch.

Turkey blames the failed coup to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen. He strongly denies the claim.

The trial is one of many taking place across Turkey of those suspected of coup involvement in what is the biggest legal process of the country's modern history.

More than 50,000 people have been arrested since July 2016 over alleged Gulen links.

Verdicts have already been handed down in some coup trials including in the southwestern city of Mugla last month.

That court handed life sentences to 40 people convicted of plotting to assassinate Erdogan at a luxury Aegean hotel on the night of the attempted putsch.

The failed coup left 249 people dead, not including the plotters, and the Turkish authorities have vowed no compromise will be made in bringing those involved to justice.