Al Jazeera News : A Turkish court on Thursday jailed 337 former pilots and other suspects for life over plot to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a failed coup attempt four years ago, a court document obtained by AFP news agency showed. The defendants are accused of carrying out the attempt to overthrow the government on July 15, 2016, from an airbase near the capital Ankara, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported. More than 250 people were killed in the attempt as rogue soldiers commandeered warplanes, helicopters and tanks in a bid to take control of key state institutions. The trial was the highest-profile of dozens of court cases targeting thousands of people accused of involvement in the coup attempt, which Ankara blamed on the supporters of the United States-based Muslim preacher and businessman, Fethullah Gulen. Anadolu and other agencies said at least 25 F-16 pilots were given aggravated life sentences - the most severe punishment in Turkish courts - meaning there is no possibility of parole. Former air force commander Akin Ozturk and others at the Akinci airbase near Ankara were accused of directing the coup and bombing government buildings, including Parliament, and attempting to kill Erdogan. Turkey's then-military chief and now defence minister Hulusi Akar and other commanders were held captive for several hours at the base on the night of the coup.
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