Alleged coup plotters stand trial in Turkey

Defendants will appear in a purpose-built courtroom outside the capital Ankara, facing charges from attempting to assassinate the president to murder.

The largest trial over Turkey's coup attempt past year started in Ankara on Tuesday, with 486 suspects expected to appear in court.

Numerous 486 suspects face 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.

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. Turkish President accuses Gulen of masterminding the coup attempt.

Among those awaiting trial include Akin Ozturk, a former air force chief, theology lecturer Adil Oksuz, whom Turkish officials allege was the so-called "imam" of the plot and Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Muslim cleric-turned-businessman accused of ordering the coup attempt on July 15.

The trial is one of dozens that are under way in Turkey in relation to the failed putsch that resulted in about 250 deaths in July 2016.

More than 50,000 people are in jail, accused of having links to Gulen, while some 150,000 have been purged from their government jobs.

The government says the coup-plotters used Akinci air base as their headquarters.

  • Jon Douglas