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Turkish prosecutors seek life sentences for 45 coup suspects

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkish police officers drive some of the tanks that were used by soldiers participating in an attempted coup back to a base in Istanbul, July 16, 2016. (Photo by AP)

Prosecutors in Turkey seek life sentences for more than 40 people stationed at an air base outside Ankara, from where plotters allegedly led the attempted coup of July 15, 2016.

According to Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency, the prosecutors formally charged the 45 along with 436 others in a 4,658-page indictment issued on Friday.

Twenty-five generals stationed at Akinci Air Base as well as 25 pilots who are charged with commandeering F-16 jets that flew low over the cities of Ankara and Istanbul or dropped bombs on key government installations are among the 481 suspects.

The indictment needs to be approved by an Ankara court before a trial date is determined.

The coup began when a faction of the Turkish military declared that it had seized control of the country and the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was no more in charge. The attempt was, however, suppressed a few hours later.

Following the failed coup, Ankara launched a heavy-handed crackdown on those deemed to have played a role in the attempt, which was blamed on a movement led by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The Pennsylvania-based cleric has, however, categorically denied the allegation.

Over 240 people were killed during the failed coup.

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of having links to Gulen and the failed coup. More than 110,000 others, including military staff, civil servants and journalists have been sacked or suspended from work over the same accusations.

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