Ex-Turkish Air Force Chief Denies Involvement in 2016 Coup Attempt
Former Turkish Air Force Commander Gen. Akin Ozturk on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to the charge of involvement in last year's thwarted military coup attempt.
ANKARA (Sputnik) – Turkish authorities detained Ozturk on July 16, 2016, a day after the failed coup attempt. Shortly thereafter, Turkish media reported that the coup's organizers had planned to appoint Ozturk as the next Turkish president and that the former serviceman had confessed to plotting the coup.
"The court on charges of such betrayal is the biggest punishment for me, who has served 46 years in the armed forces. My dear nation and commanders, who have taught me, should know that I have not participated in this wicked coup attempt," Ozturk said during the trial, as quoted by the Hurriyet newspaper.
Ozturk added that the media reports claiming that he had admitted guilt in plotting the failed military coup were false, as such reports emerged before he had begun to testify.
An attempt at a military coup in Turkey took place on July 15, 2016. It was quickly suppressed by forces and people loyal to the government, but left over 240 people killed and about 2,000 more injured. Following the incident, Turkish authorities introduced a state of emergency and detained and fired thousands of people, including journalists, activists and servicemen, including Ozturk, on suspicion of being involved in the coup or with its organizers.
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