ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said on Thursday that a court in the country had sentenced 25 journalists to jail for allegedly aiding the network accused of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016.
The report noted that prominent newspaper journalist Murat Aksoy was sentenced to 25 months in prison on charges of aiding a terrorist organization without being a member.
Further, Anadolu said that pop singer and columnist Atilla Tas was sentenced to 37 months on the same charges.
The report also stated that 11 reporters were handed six years and three months for membership of an armed terrorist organization in the same case.
Further, 12 others were sentenced to seven years and six months on the same charges.
The news agency added that the court acquitted one defendant.
In a statement, Atilla Tas said, “I always said I trust the judiciary, I always believe in it. I dissented, I did nothing else. If dissent is a crime in a country, that is how guilty I am.”
According to reports, the journalists who were sentenced on Thursday mainly worked for publications that have been closed down by the government over links with the network of the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Turkey has accused the U.S.-based cleric, Gulen of heading the network that orchestrated the 2016 coup attempt, during which 250 people were killed.
However, Gulen has denied involvement.
On Thursday, local reports also noted that the country’s authorities had also detained 32 members of the Turkish military suspected of links to the Gulen network.
Anadolu said in its report that while the operation was mainly centred in the northwestern province of Tekirdag, it was also spread across nine other provinces.
According to the Istanbul police, a total of 121 people suspected of links to the same network were issued warrants and 33 of them were detained in the operation which was spread across 28 other provinces.
So far, since the failed coup attempt of July 2016, over 50,000 people have been jailed and over 150,000 sacked or suspended from their jobs in the elaborate crackdown.