ISTANBUL, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- A total of 143 former Turkish soldiers went on trial on Monday in Istanbul over their deadly clashes with civilians on a bridge on the night of a coup attempt last year, local media reported.
Thirty-four people were killed on the bridge over the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul as clashes erupted between civilians and soldiers trying to seal off the bridge at the start of a coup bid by some in the military on July 15 last year.
A close friend of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was among the dead and 318 others were injured in the clashes on the Bosphorus Bridge, which was later renamed July 15 Martyrs Bridge by the government to honor the dead civilians who resisted the plot.
If convicted, the dismissed soldiers each will face aggravated life imprisonment over "murder and attempting to overthrow the parliament and government," press reports said.
Turkey believes that the coup attempt, in which 250 people were killed across the country, was orchestrated by the U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers in the military.
Turkey has been pushing for Gulen's extradition, while a continuing crackdown has put more than 50,000 in prison and 150,000 others dismissed from their posts.