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article imageTurkey sentences ex-opposition MP to four years in jail

By AFP     Mar 1, 2019 in World

A Turkish former opposition lawmaker was sentenced to four years and two months in jail on Friday for allegedly helping a group blamed for the 2016 failed coup, local media reported.

The Istanbul court found Eren Erdem guilty of "helping an armed terror organisation deliberately and willingly without being a member", NTV broadcaster reported.

The former MP for Istanbul from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) was arrested last June over his alleged links to the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey accuses Gulen of ordering the 2016 attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, charges denied by the preacher.

Ankara refers to Gulen's movement as the "Fethullah Terrorist Organisation".

Erdem's sentencing relates to a time when he was editor-in-chief of Karsi newspaper when a series of illegal audio recordings were leaked to the media by the Gulen movement during a 2013 scandal involving key government members and Erdogan's inner circle.

In 2014, several recordings, allegedly of Erdogan who was prime minister at the time and other senior officials, were published online in a scandal which the government denounced as "an attempted coup" orchestrated by Gulen.

Since 2016, tens of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to Gulen including military personnel.

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