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Turkish courts sentence 332 people to prison over links to failed coup

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A Turkish court handed down life sentences and lengthy jail terms to 332 suspects as part of 42 trials across Turkey for involvement in a failed coup on July 15, 2016.

According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, 232 people out of 332 were sentenced to life in prison, while others were given lengthy jail terms. One hundred seventy defendants were acquitted in these trials.

Anadolu also said investigations were launched into 100,993 people following the failed coup over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which the Turkish government accuses of being behind the coup attempt.

Turkey survived a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July of last year.

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