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Turkey To Free Prisoners To Reduce Postcoup Jail Overcrowding

Turkey plans to release some 38,000 prisoners in a "supervised release" program to ease overcrowding cause by mass detentions since last month's failed coup attempt.

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag posted on Twitter on August 17 that a government decree on the releases had been approved.

He said the measure only applies to prisoners who were committed crimes prior to July 1 and will not be extended to those convicted of murder, terrorism, or violating state security.

Bozag stressed that the action is "not an amnesty."

Turkey's prisons were already notoriously overcrowded before the postcoup rackdown, which has seen more than 35,000 people detained and tens of thousands more suspended from their jobs.

Turkish authorities blame the failed coup plot on self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the United States. Gulen denies any involvement.

Some 240 people were killed during the July 15 coup attempt.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP