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Turkish comedian sentenced to 5 years in prison over Gülen links

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An Ankara court has sentenced comedian Atalay Demirci to five years in prison for his alleged ties to the faith-based Gülen movement, the T24 news website reported on Tuesday.

Atalay received the sentence for alleged membership in a terrorist organization, while he was acquitted of charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.

While he denied the charges and claimed that no substantive evidence was presented to support the accusations during the four-year-long trial, the prosecution cited his private social media correspondence with exiled US-based athletes Hakan Şükür and Enes Kanter.

Atalay is currently free pending appeal.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating a failed coup in July 2016, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

Post-coup Gülen-linked prosecutions have targeted people from various backgrounds, from baklava tycoons to football players.

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