Turkish Justice Minister: 89 Percent of Arrested Had No Link to 2016 Coup

Turkey’s Justice Minister revealed that 89 percent of those who were detained in the aftermath of the failed coup had not actively involved in the putsch, raising questions over due process in post-coup trials that put tens of thousands of people behind bars.

“Today, the number of those who are arrested over FETO [Fethullah Gulen Terror Organization] links is 38,470. Of those who directly involved in the coup are only 4,470,” Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said.

“Out of the arrested, 480 were acquitted [of charges], 5,704 were convicted. Of these imprisoned, 7,512 of them were military officers, 1,141 were judges and prosecutors, 8,250 were police officers,” the minister went on to say, speaking about the legal process against those were placed behind bars after July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

His remarks represent an acknowledgment of the fact nearly 90 percent of the jailed had no link to the attempted coup.

The July 15 putsch by a group of soldiers rattled the entire nation, killing 249 people and wounding nearly 2,000. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s government has imposed a state of emergency since July 20 and has been ruling the country with decrees, which have the full force of laws.

In a sweeping crackdown and purge, the government has sacked or suspended more than 150,000 public workers, and at some point jailed nearly 50,000 people.

Minister Gul defended the whole process.

“These [people] are being tried within the scope of the law. Those who are guilty get a sentence. If they are not guilty, then they are acquitted, or released pending trial or jailed pending trial.”

The minister also noted that 123 new courts have been established to expedite the post-coup trials. He pledged that the government is doing everything to ensure that the trials will soon be removed from public agenda.

The claims of rampant torture and mistreatment in prison, the lack of elements of a due process, fair trial cast doubt on the legal proceedings. The members of the judiciary, according to critics and the EU reports, appears to be compromised either willingly or forcefully with the constant fear of purge.

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