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More Than 60 Soldiers on Trial for Alleged Part in Turkey Coup

FILE - Members of Turkey's armed forces are escorted by police at the court house in Mugla, a Mediterrenean city of Turkey, for their suspected involvement in an attempted July 2016 coup.

Dozens of officers and soldiers have gone on trial in Istanbul for their alleged role in the failed military coup in July.

The 28 officers and 34 privates allegedly seized control of Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the night of the attempt. They are accused of crimes against the state and face life terms in prison if convicted.

Some of the defendants have denied the charges. insisting they were led to believe they were taking part in a drill.

Turkey blames the coup on the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and is engaged in a massive purge of his followers from government jobs. Gulen denies any involvement.

Monday's trial is the first in Istanbul for military officers. Twenty-nine police are already on trial for allegedly failing to protect the president.