Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag has said as many as 93,000 inmates could be released from the country’s prisons to make room for the many suspects being arrested over last month’s attempted coup.
In the first tranche, from Wednesday July 17, 38,000 are being set free out of a prison population of almost 214,000 according to the minister.
The so-called “supervised releases” under Turkey’s state of emergency do not include those convicted of terrorism, murder and violent or sexual crimes.
Those leaving the cells have two years or less to serve of their sentences. Convicts who have served half of their prison term are also now eligible for parole; before they had to have served two thirds of their time.
In the resort town of Marmaris 11 commandos have appeared in court accused of trying to kidnap President Tayyip Erdogan from the hotel where he was staying on holiday on the night of the failed coup.
The president, having been tipped off that he was in danger, had fled the hotel by the time they arrived.
Video has also been released of soldiers taking over the headquarters of Turkey’s national TV service in Ankara on July 15, including a top commander changing into his dress uniform to go before the cameras and tell the country that the military had seized power because of rising autocratic rule and increased terrorism.
In the end the plotters had one of the station’s presenters read out the announcement of the coup that collapsed just hours later.