Turksat Anadolu Agency
Participants in Turkey's 2016 coup attacked Turksat's headquarters in an attempt to sever communications. Credit: Anadolu Agency

WASHINGTON — Thirteen out of seventeen people accused by Turkey’s government of attempting to cut off Turksat’s satellite communications during last year’s coup attempt have received “aggravated life sentences” for their actions, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said Oct. 23.

Turkey’s 14th High Criminal Court in the nation’s capital city of Ankara sentenced eight former soliders and five civilians to life in prison for “violating the Constitution,” according to Anadolu.

Four unsentenced individuals remain at large, Anadolu said.

Two Turksat employees died during a July 15, 2016 coup attempt, during which an F-16 fighter aircraft bombed Turksat’s primary location in Ankara’s Golbasi district.

Turkey blames the Fethullah Terrorist Organization, known as FETO, for last year’s attempt to overthrow the nation’s government, and considers Fethullah Gulen, a Turkey-born Islamic scholar who lives in the U.S., as the mastermind behind multiple uprisings. Gulen has denied involvement, calling the coup attempt “deplorable” in a Washington Post Opinion Piece published in March. Gulen said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was using the coup as an excuse to crackdown on citizens Turkey doesn’t like.

Caleb Henry is a former SpaceNews staff writer covering satellites, telecom and launch. He previously worked for Via Satellite and NewSpace Global.He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science along with a minor in astronomy from...