Trial for attempted murder of Turkish president starts

The trial of 44 people suspected of attempting to assassinate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during July's coup attempt began Monday in Mugla, Turkey.

The suspects - 37 of them former military personnel - face possible life sentences on charges that include attempted assassination, overthrow of the constitutional order and other crimes against the state during the July 15 coup attempt.

During the night of the coup attempt, two police officers were martyred at the scene of Erdogan's hotel in the port town of Marmaris. Erdogan managed to leave the place minutes before the arrival of the attackers.

The president believes that the coup attempt was organised by the movement of the Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the US, whose followers have infiltrated the army and other state institutions.

Some 43,000 people have been arrested following the coup attempt in a massive crackdown on followers of Gulen that has raised worldwide concerns.

The 4th High Criminal Court also prepared extradition requests for other fugitive suspects including Hamdullah Bayram Ozturk and Ahmet Kurucan - who are believed to have fled to the US - and Abdullah Aymaz, who is believed to be in Germany.

A police helicopter circled overhead and police snipers watched from the rooftop of the building.

Outside of the courthouse, a group of people staged a protest demanding a reinstated death sentence for it to be applied to the coup plotters, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

  • Leroy Wright