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Turkey Sentences More Than 2,000 Suspects in Coup Trials

Turkey’s courts began to hand prison sentences to more than 2,000 suspects over a coup attempt in July 2016, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul told state-run media on Thursday.

“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,” Justice Minister Gul said in remarks to Anadolu news agency.

“I guess the remaining cases will be finalized by the end of 2018,” he said.

The government accuses U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the failed putsch but Gulen vehemently denies the claims.

Thousands of people including soldiers, police officers and judges have been arrested since then in a crackdown on the Gulen movement.

The trials are taking place in several cities throughout Turkey.

Tens of thousands of people have been suspended or sacked from the public sector including teachers, police officers and judges under decrees imposed under the state of emergency declared after the failed coup in July two years ago.

The magnitude of the crackdown has been widely criticized by the West but Ankara insists the raids are needed to rid Turkey of what Erdogan.

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