Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A court in Turkey handed down hundreds of life sentences Thursday to defendants charged in a failed 2016 coup attempt to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
More than 250 people died and more than 2,200 were injured on July 15, 2016, when members of the Turkish military coordinated the takeover of fighter jets, helicopters and tanks at Akinci, an airbase north of the capital Ankara. The failed coup by members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), included warplanes attacking parliament and the presidential complex, the state-run news outlet Anadolu Agency reported.
"The terrorists who used the Akıncı Base as a center during the July 15 coup attempt received the punishment they deserved," tweeted Ömer Çelik, the spokesman for Erdoğan's Justice and Development party. "The betrayal network that rained bombs on the Parliament, the Presidency and our nation was condemned once again by our nation before justice."
The most recent batch of sentences added up to more than 3,901 years in prison for guilty verdicts for "attempting to intentionally kill," "attempting to deprive a person of liberty" and "depriving a person of liberty," Anadolu reported.
The Turkish government and Erdoğan have blamed the failed uprising on the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, now living in Pennsylvania, who has long denied any association with the coup attempt.
Erdoğan's demands that the United States expel Gülen have reached the highest levels of U.S. government, with former CIA Director James Woolsey claiming in 2017 that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, a registered agent for Turkey, worked with Turkish lobbyists on a plot to kidnap Gülen and extradite him, a charge Flynn's lawyers denied. Special Counsel Robert Mueller also investigated Flynn, who was pardoned by President Donald Trump this week, in connection with the alleged kidnapping plot.