Turkey Releases 38,000 Criminals To Make Room For Coup Supporters

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Around 38,000 convicted criminals will be released from Turkish prisons as the country is running out of space for alleged coup supporters.

Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozag announced the releases Wednesday on Twitter. He emphasized that the releases will come with a parole, and that they are not handing out get-out-of jail free cards.

Inmates with two years or less left on their sentences, or have served more than half of their total sentence, will be released. Exceptions are made against people convicted of murder, terrorism and some instances of treason. (RELATED: Turkish President Wants To Bring Back Death Penalty After Failed Coup)

More than 35,000 people have been detained since the failed military coup attempt July 14. Almost 11,600 of them have since been released.

Around 187,000 people were held in Turkish prisons in March, according to figures from the country’s justice ministry. The prison population is several thousands above what the facilities are intended to hold.

Turkish media further reports that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed the extradition Fethullah Gulen over the phone Tuesday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims Gulen, who resides in Saylorsburg, Pa., was behind the coup attempt.

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