World Bulletin / News Desk
The soldiers, who were in charge at the Kuleli Military Academy, had been detained by the chief prosecutor's office in Istanbul as part of its probe into the Fetullah extremist Organization.
The judge in the case noted that “illegal orders cannot be obeyed and crimes known by public as coup, aiming to change the constitution, cannot be implemented without participating soldiers.”
In total, 50 soldiers had appeared before the court; 14 suspects were set free.
In their testimonies, some soldiers recalled how they were ordered to open fire on civilians.
Soldier Safak Korkut said his captain aimed at people coming out of mosque about the time of early morning prayers. “They were coming out of the mosque and crossing the road without any resistance. But we thought there were extremists over there,” Korkut said.
Sergeant Sezgin Yaris said when he saw Col. Mursel Cikrikci beating up a police officer, he asked himself: “What kind of military exercise is this?”
Soldier Senol Kilic added: “Captains shot civilians. They were using the G3 rifles and kept shooting until their clips were almost empty.”
The deadly coup attempt occurred late on Friday, July 15, 2016 when rogue elements of the Turkish military tried to overthrow the country's democratically elected government.
Turkey's government has repeatedly said the deadly plot on July 15, which martyred at least 246 people and injured more than 2,100 others, was organized by followers of U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen.
Gulen is also accused of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the “parallel state”.