16:43 GMT26 February 2020
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    ANKARA (Sputnik) - A court in Istanbul sentenced 15 journalists of the Cumhuriyet opposition newspaper to various prison terms, including its chief editor Murat Sabuncu, for their associations with Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement, referred to as the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) by Ankara, local media reported on Wednesday.

    According to the NTV broadcaster, Sabuncu was sentenced to 7.5 years of imprisonment, and newspaper’s chairman Akin Atalay to 8 years. Other employees received from 2.5 to 7.5 years of imprisonment.

    The trial against 17 Cumhuriyet journalists began last July. Most of them were arrested in November 2016 on accusations of having ties to Gulen and to Kurdish separatists.

    Ankara accuses Gulen of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt to depose the president, an allegation he denies. Turkey has been seeking his extradition from the United States.

    Earlier in the day, Harlem Desir, the representative on freedom of the media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), called on Turkey to rethink its position on journalists who were detained by the nation's authorities in the wake of the attempted coup in July 2016, and release them immediately.


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