The İstanbul Regional Court of Appeals 2nd Panel Chamber on Wednesday approved sentences totaling 160 years in prison for 25 journalists who were convicted of “terrorist” links, the tr724 news website reported.
A local court on March 8 convicted them of membership in a “terrorist” group, FETÖ – a derogatory name given by the government to the faith-based Gülen movement — after a one-and-a-half-year trial.
The journalists, who worked for media outlets affiliated with the movement, were arrested after a 2016 coup attempt for which Turkish authorities blamed the Gülen movement, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.
The journalists’ tweets and news reports were presented as evidence in the indictment.
Journalists Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Muhammet Sait Kuloğlu, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mutlu Çölgeçen, Oğuz Usluer, Seyit Kılıç, Ufuk Şanlı, Ünal Tanık, Yetkin Yıldız, Cuma Ulus and Davut Aydın were sentenced to seven years, six months’ imprisonment.
Abdullah Kılıç, Bayram Kaya, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cihan Acar, Habip Güler, İbrahim Balta, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Hüseyin Aydın, Yakup Çetin and Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu received six years, three months in prison.
Ex-pop singer and columnist Atilla Taş had received three years, one month, 15 days and columnist Murat Aksoy two years, one month. They were released pending appeal.
The journalists can now appeal to a higher court.