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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Turkish courts handed jail terms to over 2,000 suspects over failed coup: Justice minister

Iran Press TV

Thu Jun 7, 2018 03:28PM

Turkey says its courts have so far handed prison terms for more than 2,000 people suspected of having links to a failed coup against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan two years ago.

"Out of 287 court cases, 171 have been decided: 2,140 defendants have been given jail terms and 1,478 of them have been acquitted," Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said in an interview with the country's official Anadolu news agency on Thursday.

He added that "the remaining cases" were expected to be "finalized by the end of 2018."

Shortly after the mid-July 2016 coup attempt by a faction of the army, Ankara accused the US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen of having masterminded the botched putsch.

The 76-year-old cleric has since strongly rejected any involvement in the coup attempt against Erdogan. However, Ankara has labeled his transnational religious and social movement as the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), claiming that Gulen has been behind a long-running campaign to topple the government via infiltrating the country's institutions, particularly the army, police, and the judiciary.

The Turkish government has so far submitted several requests to the US concerning the extradition of Gulen, but Washington has refused to heed the calls, arguing that it has not yet received sufficient evidence required by US courts to hand over the cleric, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US since 1999.

Turkey, under a state of emergency since the coup, has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups suspected to have played a role in the failed coup.

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of having links to Gulen and the failed coup. More than 110,000 others, including military staff, civil servants and journalists, have been sacked or suspended from work over the same accusations.

The international community and rights groups have been highly critical of the Turkish president over the massive dismissals and the crackdown.

Gulen has also called on Ankara to end its "witch hunt" of his followers, a move he said is aimed at "weeding out anyone it deems disloyal to President Erdogan and his regime."

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