Ankara (AFP) – Turkish courts have so far handed jail terms to more than 2,000 suspects over the failed 2016 coup aimed at unseating President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a government minister said 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 Abdulhamit Gul told state news agency Anadolu.
“I guess the remaining cases will be finalised by the end of 2018,” he said.
The government accuses US-based Muslim preacher 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 which Turkey has dubbed the “Fethullah Terrorist Organisation” or FETO.
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 criticised by the West but Ankara insists the raids are needed to rid Turkey of what Erdogan describes as the “virus” created by Gulen followers’ infiltration into key Turkish institutions.