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Accused coup plotters stand trial in Ankara

Accused coup plotters stand trial in Ankara

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses academics during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey July 26, 2017.

Turkish authorities detained 1,098 people over the last week for suspected links to militant groups or last year's failed coup attempt, the interior ministry said on Monday. As some arrived at court they were met by protesters chanting "We want the death penalty!"

The trial centres around the Akinci air base which, the government alleges, was the plotters' headquarters.

Turkey is set to hold its largest trial over the July 2016 coup attempt, with almost 500 people set to appear in court. The remainder are charged but not in jail.

Numerous 486 suspects face life terms in prison for crimes that include murder and attempt to assassinate Erdogan.

Nearly 600 people were detained in Turkey in the past week over their alleged ties to the movement of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, suspected by Turkish authorities of orchestrating last year's failed coup, local media reported on Monday.

The trial is the largest yet relating to the coup.

He remains in the United States under self-imposed exile in a secluded compound in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, and strongly denies the charges against him.

Mr Erdogan's critics say he is using the purge that followed the coup to stifle political dissent.

Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar and other senior commanders were held hostage at the base during the coup attempt, before they were freed on the morning on July 16.

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