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Turkish Officers on Trial for Planning Istanbul Leg of Coup

A Turkish army soldier stands guard outside a court in Silivri, Turkey, May 29, 2017.

The trial against 23 army officers who allegedly planned the Istanbul stage of last summer's failed military coup has opened in the outskirts of the city.

The defendants, including six generals, are accused of crimes against the state and held responsible for the deaths of 89 people who died in the city during the attempt. They face life imprisonment if convicted.

U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of orchestrating the coup, is also named as a defendant in the trial and is being tried in absentia along with eight other defendants who are on the run.

The trial, which started Monday, is one of dozens across Turkey against suspected Gulen followers who are accused of playing a part in the coup. Gulen has denied involvement.