Turkish officers await 'sledgehammer' verdict

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Turkish officers await 'sledgehammer' verdict

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Hundreds of Turkish military officers are awaiting the verdict of the “sledgehammer” trial, in which they stand accused of plotting a coup d’etat.

The case revolves around a 2003 military seminar which it is claimed was part of a plan to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan.

The conspiracy is said to have involved the bombing historic mosques in Istanbul and triggering a conflict with Greece

All but one of the 365 defendants are serving or retired officers and prosecuters have called for a 15 to 20 year jail term.

Supporters of the chief suspects, including alleged plot leader General Çetin Doğan, have sought to discredit the trial saying the evidence has been flimsy, planted or even forged.

The once all powerful Turkish army staged three military coups between 1960 and 1980 and pushed the country’s first Islamist led government from office in 1997.

Over the last decade Prime Minister Erdoğan has reigned in its authority significantly.

The trial has divided opinion in Turkey and most of the defendants’ lawyers did not attend the final hearing, claiming the case is unfair and politically motivated.