Turkey set to release 38,000 prisoners to make space for coup plotters

ANKARA:Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag on Wednesday said the country had issued a decree by which around 38,000 prisoners will be conditionally released soon, reported Associated Press. According to reports, the step is being taken to make prison space for thousands who have been arrested in connection with last month's coup attempt.

The government decided to free inmates who have two years or less time left to serve, while convicts who have served half their term will be eligible for parole. However, inmates who are convicted of murder, sexual abuse, militancy or domestic violence and any other crime against the state will remain in the prison. Bozdag said it was not a pardon or an amnesty, but a release on probation, reported Reuters.

Till date, around 35,000 people have been detained for questioning and more than 17,000 have been arrested in connection with the coup that the government suspects to be the brainchild of United States-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. On July 15, a section of the Turkish military attempted a coup in Istanbul and Ankara, the capital. The coup left 161 people dead and 1,440 wounded.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called the move an "act of treason" and said the army must be cleansed. The government launched a crackdown and declared a state of emergency following the incident. Thousands of people lost their jobs over their suspected links with Gulen.

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