By Sibel Ugurlu
At least 15 people were convicted of membership of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) on Thursday amid ongoing trials related to last year's defeated coup attempt.
The 2nd High Criminal Court in the central province of Eskisehir sentenced 15 ex-police officers up to seven years in prison for being members of an armed terrorist organization and using FETO’s encrypted smart phone messaging application, ByLock.
In southeastern Diyarbakir province, a married couple appeared before court for membership of an armed terrorist group.
The 8th High Criminal Court sentenced the husband to almost nine years in prison while his wife was released under judicial supervision and a travel ban.
In addition to the hundreds of defendants in three major trials relating to the coup attempt -- the Bosphorus Bridge case, the Akinci air base trial, and the Presidential Complex/TRT case -- thousands of others in other cases are accused of being members of FETO, which attempted to overthrow the government and the constitutional order and commit murder on the night of July 15, 2016.
Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge, since renamed the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, was seized by soldiers on the coup night and became a focus for those resisting the putschists in Istanbul.
At least 34 people were gunned down on the bridge before the rebellious troops surrendered as the coup bid crumbled. The incident has led to 143 soldiers standing trial.
At Akinci, an air base north of capital Ankara -- renamed Murted -- the coup plotters established a command center to coordinate attacks, including fighter jets that attacked the parliament and Presidential Complex.
Some of the most senior plotters are said to have been at the base, and it was also where Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar was held hostage. This trial has seen 486 defendants, mostly former military officers, face allegations that they orchestrated the coup on behalf of FETO leader Fetullah Gulen.
The Presidential Complex/TRT case involving 534 defendants relates to attacks on the Presidential Complex and the offices of state broadcaster TRT in Ankara on the night of the coup.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.