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Turkey removes restrictions from 155,350 passports

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The Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs has removed restrictions from 155,350 passports belonging primarily to spouses of people allegedly affiliated with the Gülen movement or their close relatives, the T24 news website reported.

The movement is accused by the government of orchestrating a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 – a claim strongly denied by the movement — and has been designated a “terrorist organization” by Turkish authorities. More than 200,000 people have been investigated for alleged links to the movement.

In most cases the spouses of Gülen-linked suspects were not allowed to leave the country due to a notation in their passports.

After the presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had announced that restrictions imposed on 181,500 passport holders would be lifted.

The ministry also said in a statement that they had not found any legal action facing holders of the passports; therefore, they decided to remove the restrictions at the end of a state of emergency that was declared following an abortive coup in 2016 and terminated on July 18, 2018.

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