Turkey coup trial: nearly 500 in court amid protests

Turkish Police Detained Almost 600 People Last Week Over Suspected Links to FETO

Turkey set for its largest trial with nearly 500 to face judges over failed coup

Turkey put almost 500 people on trial Tuesday on charges of leading last year's failed coup, parading dozens of the men into a courthouse as protesters threw stones and shouted "Murderers!"

They are charged with crimes ranging from "violating the Constitution, attempting to assassinate the President, attempting to abolish the government of Turkey, managing an armed terrorist organization, seizing military bases, manslaughter, attempting manslaughter and deprivation of liberty".

US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government accuses of orchestrating the coup, has been named as the main defendant in the case and will be tried in absentia.

Gulen, who has been living in the United States since 1999, denied allegations of involvement and condemned the attempted coup.

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Several similar cases are under way in Turkey after the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that resulted in some 250 deaths. Prosecutors say the base was a headquarters for pro-coup soldiers.

Of the 486 facing charges now, 461 are currently imprisoned, 18 have been released with judicial supervision, and seven are on the run, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The base's runways were bombed on the night of the putsch to prevent F-16s used by the coup plotters from taking off.

Businessman Kemal Batmaz, meanwhile, is accused of assisting Oksuz.

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The government declared a state of emergency after the coup attempt and embarked on a large-scale crackdown that has alarmed Western allies of Ankara, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and candidate for European Union membership.

Theology lecturer Adil Oksuz, whom Turkish officials allege was the so-called "imam" of the plot, is accused coordinating the action on the ground in Turkey with Gulen.

The authorities declared a state of emergency following the coup and embarked on a crackdown on Gulen's network and other opponents, arresting more than 50,000 people and purging over 150,000 people from public sector jobs.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other senior political figures are among the plaintiffs.

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