Around 38,000 prisoners in Turkey are set to be released early – apparently to make room for those arrested over last month’s attempted coup, agencies report.There have been reports of severe overcrowding in jails since plotters unsuccessfully tried to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said the move was not an amnesty or a pardon, and the inmates were being freed on parole. At least 270 people died in the the failed coup on 15 July and more than 35,000 were subsequently detained.
It means convicts who have served half of their prison term will be eligible for parole.But the move will not apply to those convicted of murder, domestic violence, sexual abuse or terrorism and other crimes against the state.
The coup was carried out by followers of the movement led by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who infiltrated the military and other state institutions, according to the government.
Mr Gulen has denied any prior knowledge or involvement in the coup, but Ankara wants America to extradite him. Tens of thousands of people with suspected links to Mr Gulen have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs in the judiciary, media, education, health care, military and local government.