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Former Turkish soccer player gets 6 years, 3 months over Gülen links

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A high criminal court in İstanbul on Tuesday handed down a six year, three month sentence to former soccer player İsmail Demiriz for “membership in an armed terrorist organization” due to links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Demiriz was first sentenced to seven-and-a-half years, but the court reduced his time to be served in prison due to good conduct during the hearings.

As part of an ongoing witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement, arrest warrants were issued in September 2016 for former Galatasaray footballers Hakan Şükür, Arif Erdem, Uğur Tütüneker and İsmail Demiriz due to their alleged links to the movement.

Demiriz had been released from jail pending trial in 2017. Demiriz and Tütüneker were briefly detained, while Erdem and Şükür were out of the country.

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