Turkish authorities free over 800 soldiers in coup probe


ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish courts on Saturday released over 800 enlisted conscripts who were under arrest as part of the investigation into the July 15 failed coup, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

In Istanbul, 758 out of 989 conscripts under arrest in the coup investigation were freed by the chief public prosecutor’s office following a court decision. The prosecutors recommended their release on the grounds they had delivered their testimony and did not pose a flight risk. The conscripts had been doing their compulsory military service when the attempted coup took place.

Among those released were military high school students.

Another 47 enlisted conscripts were released by a court in Ankara on similar grounds.

According to the latest figures by Interior Minister Efkan Ala, over 9,000 people, mostly in the military, have been put under arrest in the aftermath of the failed coup, which caused the deaths of more than 200 people. Thousands more have been detained, but not formally arrested.

The Turkish government has engaged in a sweeping crackdown against alleged members of the Gulen movement lead by Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara claims is behind the coup. Tens of thousands of people have been dismissed from their jobs, detained or arrested in the purges, which has affected the judiciary, the police, the military and the education system, among other sectors.

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