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Turkey puts 200 suspected military coup plotters on trial amid heavy security

ANKARA Turkey put on trial 200 suspects on Monday including senior military officers accused of plotting and orchestrating last year’s failed coup, in a court case where prosecutors are calling for life sentences.

The defendants, among them President Tayyip Erdogan’s aide-de-camp, the former head of Turkey’s air force, and dozens of generals, colonels and majors, were paraded on their way to court past dozens of protesters who demanded the death penalty and threw nooses towards them.

Around 1,500 security personnel were deployed for security at the trial, state-run Anadolu news agency reported, which was held in a purpose-built courthouse in Sincan on the outskirts of the Turkish capital.

More than 240 people, many of them civilians, were killed in the failed coup on July 15, 2016, when a group of rogue soldiers commandeered tanks, warplanes and helicopters, bombing the parliament and attempting to overthrow the government.

Those on trial in Sincan included core suspects behind the coup who raided the state broadcaster and forced the presenter to read out an announcement saying the army had taken over and Turkey was being run by a committee they called “Peace at Home”.

Erdogan blames Fetullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric and a former ally, and his global network for orchestrating the coup, a charge Gulen denies . Turkish authorities have arrested nearly 50,000 people over alleged links with the preacher.

At the start of the hearing, families of the victims attending the trial screamed at the defendants, and one woman in the courtroom, whose son was killed during the coup, broke down.

“Kill these traitors, the murderers of my son,” she screamed before fainting . The judge called for a medical team to be brought into the courtroom.

From a total of 221 defendants, more than 200 are from the military and more than half of those were officers who held ranks from captains up to generals . All but 12 of the suspects, who are still at large, appeared in court . Gulen, who is among the defendants, is among those being tried in absentia.

Following confirmation of the suspects’ identity and the reading of a summary of the roughly 2,000-page indictment, suspects will be able to put forward their defence.

Hearings at the trial, one of the largest of several coup-related trials taking place across Turkey, are expected to last until June 16.

Citing the coup attempt as a grave threat to the state, Turkish authorities have also sacked or suspended around 150,000 civil servants, teachers, judges, prosecutors, police and soldiers and have shut down around 150 media outlets.

While the detentions may have been supported by some Turks in the immediate aftermath of the abortive putsch, criticism mounted as arrests widened to include groups of which many deny any connection to Gulen.

Many relatives of those detained or sacked since July say they have nothing to do with the armed attempt to overthrow the government, and are victims of a purge designed to consolidate Erdogan’s control.

(Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Dominic Evans and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Kurdish woman attacked by Erdogan’s guards speaks out

  • Ceres Borazan claims a Turkish bodyguard threatened to kill her in Washington
  • She was protesting outside the Turkish ambassador’s house on Embassy Row
  • Members of President Recep Erdogan’s security detail attacked the protesters
  • Senator John McCain called on President Trump to expel the ambassador

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A Kurdish student claims Turkish 3president Tayyip Recep Erdogan’s security detail threatened to kill her during a demonstration outside the ambassador’s residence in Washington. Erdogan was in Washington to meet with Donald Trump 4when members of the Kurdish community decided to protest outside the ambassador’s residence. However, 26-year-old Ceres Borazan, a Kurd from Turkey, claims she was man handled by Erdogan’s security detail who were filmed attacking protesters on the street.

Scroll down for video

Ceren Borazan claimed a member of President Erdogan’s security detail threatened to kill her outside the Turkish embassy in Washington where Kurdish people were holding a protest

Ms Borazan, pictured, claimed she suffered a popped blood vessel in her eye during the attack

At least 12 people including one police officer were injured following the disturbance She wrote about her ordeal on Facebook: ‘They attacked women, children and the elderly with reckless abandon . I ran in the opposite direction from our friends and got caught by one of the security guards . He put me in a headlock to the point where he popped a blood vessel in my eye.’

Ms Borazan claimed the security guard had threatened to kill her before she managed to escape into a nearby car. Commenting on the motorist, she said: ‘I swear that man saved my life.’ US Senator John McCain condemned the attack and called on Trump to react. He told MSNBC: ‘We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America . This kind of thing can not go unresponded to diplomatically. ‘This isn’t Turkey, this isn’t a third world country.’

Several people required treatment following the incident outside the ambassador’s residence

Senator John McCain has called on the Turkish Ambassador to be expelled in response

The Turkish embassy blamed the protesters for the violent scenes outside the residence

Washington Police chief Peter Newsham said 11 people and one police officer had been injured in the violence which took place on ‘Embassy Row’. The Turkish embassy released a statement blaming the Kurdish PKK. ‘The demonstrators began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president .

The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured.’ McCain laid blame directly at the feet of Turkish officials. He said: ‘This is Erdogan’s security detail .

Somebody told them to go out there and beat up on these peaceful demonstrators. I think it should have repercussions, including identifying these people and bringing charges against them . After all they violated American laws.’

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References

  1. ^ e-mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  2. ^ 116 View comments (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  3. ^ Turkish (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  4. ^ Donald Trump (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Cyber attack’s spread slows; security stocks gain

By Guy Faulconbridge and Dustin Volz12 | LONDON/WASHINGTON

LONDON/WASHINGTON The global WannaCry “ransomware” cyber attack spread more slowly on Monday with no major infections reported, as attention shifted to investment and government policy implications of lax cyber security.

There were 213,000 infected machines in 112 countries as of 1000 GMT on Monday, according to Czech security firm Avast, making it one of the largest coordinated attacks to hit computers across the world.

The countries most affected by WannaCry were the same as Friday: Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine and India, Avast’s data showed.

The number of infections has fallen dramatically since Friday s peak when more than 9,000 computers were being hit per hour . By afternoon on the U.S East Coast, new infections had fallen to the low hundreds of machines and continue to decline, Avast said.

Earlier on Monday, Chinese traffic police and schools reported they had been targeted as the attack rolled into Asia for the new work week, but no there were no major disruptions.

Authorities in Europe and the United States turned their attention to preventing hackers from spreading new versions of the virus.

Tom Bossert, U.S . President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser, said people “should be thinking about this as an attack that for right now we have under control, but as an attack that represents an extremely serious threat,” speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” show.

Shares in firms that provide cyber security services jumped on the prospect of companies and governments spending more money on defenses, led by Israel’s Cyren Ltd (CYRN.O) and U.S . firm FireEye Inc (FEYE.O)..

Cisco Systems (CSCO.O) rose 2.8 percent, making it the leading gainer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was up more than 100 points in afternoon trading, as investors focused more on opportunities the attack presented rather than the risk it posed to corporations.

The perpetrators of the attack are still not known . Bossert said that while U.S . officials had not ruled out the possibility that it was a “state action,” he said it appeared to be criminal, given the ransom requests.

Some victims were ignoring official advice and paying the $300 ransom demanded by the cyber criminals to unlock their computers, which was due to double to $600 on Monday for computers hit by Friday’s first wave.

So far only a few victims of the attack appeared to have paid, based on publicly available bitcoin accounts on the web, where victims have been instructed to pay.

The initial ransom demand was $300 per machine . Three days after becoming infected the demand doubles . Starting on Monday, the first victims began facing demands of $600 to unlock their machines.

This coming Friday, victims face being locked out of their computers permanently if they fail to pay the $600 ransom, said Tom Robinson, co-founder of Elliptic, a London-based private security company that investigates ransomware attacks.

As of 1400 GMT, the total value of funds paid into anonymous bitcoin wallets the hackers are using stood at just $55,169, from 209 payments, according to calculations made by Reuters using publicly available data.

Brian Lord, managing director of cyber and technology at cyber security firm PGI, said victims had told him “the customer service provided by the criminals is second-to-none,” with helpful advice on how to pay: “One customer said they actually forgot they were being robbed.”

Companies and governments spent the weekend upgrading software to limit the spread of the virus . Monday was the first big test for Asia, where offices had already mostly been closed for the weekend before the attack first arrived.

Renault-Nissan (RENA.PA) (7201.T) said output had returned to normal at nearly all its plants . PSA Group (PEUP.PA), Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI), Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), Daimler (DAIGn.DE), Toyota (7203.T) and Honda (7267.T) said their plants were unaffected.

British media were hailing as a hero a 22-year-old computer security whiz who appeared to have helped stop the attack from spreading by discovering a “kill switch” – an internet address which halted the virus when activated.

Individual European countries and the United States saw infections at a rate of only 10 percent to 20 percent of the most affected countries, according to the researcher who stumbled on the kill switch.

The virus hit computers running older versions of Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) software that had not been recently updated . Microsoft released patches last month and on Friday to fix a vulnerability that allowed the worm to spread across networks . The company’s shares were down about 1 percent on Monday, in a slightly higher broad market.

Infected computers appear to be largely out-of-date devices . Some have also been machines involved in manufacturing or hospital functions, difficult to patch without disrupting operations.

Graphic on cyber attack tmsnrt.rs/2qIUckv3

POLITICAL TOPIC

The U.S . Senate Intelligence Committee is monitoring the attack and expects to receive a briefing in the coming days from the Trump administration, a panel aide said.

In a blog post on Sunday, Microsoft President Brad Smith confirmed what researchers had already widely concluded: the attack made use of a hacking tool built by the U.S . National Security Agency that had leaked online in April.

He poured fuel on a long-running debate over how government intelligence services should balance their desire to keep software flaws secret – in order to conduct espionage and cyber warfare – against sharing those flaws with technology companies to better secure the internet.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, noting the technology’s link to the U.S . spy service, said it should be “discussed immediately on a serious political level.”

“Once they’re let out of the lamp, genies of this kind, especially those created by intelligence services, can later do damage to their authors and creators,” he said.

In Britain, where the virus first raised global alarm when it caused hospitals to divert ambulances on Friday, it gained traction as a political issue just weeks before a general election . The opposition Labour Party accused the Conservative government of leaving the National Health Service (NHS) vulnerable.

“The government’s response has been chaotic,” the British Labour Party’s health spokesman Jon Ashworth said. “If you’re not going to allow the NHS to invest in upgrading its IT, then you are going to leave hospitals wide open to this sort of attack.”

Britain’s NHS is the world’s fifth-largest employer after the U.S . and Chinese militaries, Wal-Mart Stores and McDonald’s . The government says that under a previous Labour administration the trusts that run local hospitals were given responsibility to manage their own computer systems.

Asked if the government had ignored warnings over the NHS being at risk from cyber attack, Prime Minister Theresa May told Sky News: “No . It was clear (that) warnings were given to hospital trusts.”

British health minister Jeremy Hunt said on Monday it was “encouraging” that a predicted second spike of attacks had not occurred, but the ransomware was a warning to public and private organizations.

ASIA IMPACT

China appeared over the weekend to have been particularly vulnerable, raising worries about how well the world’s second-largest economy would cope . However, officials and security firms said the spread was starting to slow.

“The growth rate of infected institutions on Monday has slowed significantly compared to the previous two days,” said Chinese Internet security company Qihoo 360.

An official from Cybersecurity Administration China (CAC) told local media on Monday the ransomware had affected industry and government computer systems but the spread was slowing.

Energy giant PetroChina (601857.SS) said payment systems at some petrol stations were hit although it had restored most of the systems.

Elsewhere in Asia, Conglomerate Hitachi Ltd (6501.T) said the attack had affected its systems over the weekend, leaving them unable to receive and send emails or open attachments in some cases.

At Indonesia s biggest cancer hospital, Dharmais Hospital in Jakarta, attacks affected scores of computers . By late morning, some people were still manually filling out forms, but 70 percent of systems were online.

India’s government said it received only a few reports of attacks and urged those hit not to pay any ransom . No major Indian corporations reported disrupted operations.

(Additional reporting by Cate Cadell, Jemima Kelly, Eric Auchard and Tim Ahmann; Writing by Peter Graff and Nick Zieminski; Editing by Peter Millership and Bill Rigby)


References

  1. ^ Guy Faulconbridge (uk.reuters.com)
  2. ^ Dustin Volz (uk.reuters.com)
  3. ^ tmsnrt.rs/2qIUckv (tmsnrt.rs)