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Turkish court jails 25 journalists over Gulen links

AFP  |  Istanbul 

An today sentenced 25 journalists to prison terms of up to seven and a half years over links to the group blamed by for the 2016 failed coup, in a mass trial of detained after the putsch bid.

Twenty-three of the journalists were convicted of membership of an armed terror group while two more on lesser charges, the Dogan agency said.

Almost all of those jailed worked for media close to the group of US-based Fethullah Gulen, who says organised the coup bid. He denies the charges.

Many of those convicted worked for the newspaper, the most prominent of the close to Gulen, which was taken over by the authorities in March 2016.

Others worked for the magazine and the website, also considered close to Gulen.

Ten of those on trial were handed jail terms of seven and a half years, including Unal Tanik, a veteran Turkish who was the of

Thirteen were sentenced to six years and three months in jail, including Hanim Busra Erdal, once a for

was given a three year one month sentence on charges of assisting Gulen's group and two years and one month on the same charge.

Both were however allowed to go free on the condition they did not leave A total of 19 of the suspects were already being held in jail ahead of the verdict.

Writing on Twitter, Aksoy insisted he was innocent and denied he had aided any "organisation" in his writings.

"My writings may have been critical but don't deserve to be punished. I also don't deserve to be punished, just for being a journalist."

The Turkish authorities have detained dozens of journalists in the crackdown after the failed coup.

Not all were considered close to Gulen, with some sympathetic to the Kurdish cause or simply critical of

says such measures imposed under the state of emergency in place since July 2016 are needed to eradicate the influence of Gulen from Turkish society.

The Islamic preacher, despite having not set foot in Turkey since 1999, built up a network of supporters in the media, judicial system and police as well as running a succesful system of private schools.

Gulen and his supporters however deny any link to the coup bid and insist they are victims of a witch hunt.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 09 2018. 01:00 IST