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Two jailed journalists released on parole in Turkey

© 2017 AFP

24 October 2017

A Turkish court ordered Tuesday the release on parole of two journalists who were jailed accused of involvement in the failed coup attempt last year to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The two journalists, Atilla Tas and Murat Aksoy, were expected to be freed later Tuesday, a representative of Reporters without Borders (RSF) in Turkey, Erol Onderoglu, told AFP, adding that they had been detained for 421 days.

They were also accused of belonging to FETO, an acronym which for the Turkish authorities refers to the movement of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of planning the coup bid of July 15, 2016, Anadolu reported.

Gulen, who now lives in the United States, has denied the Turkish government's allegations.

The two journalists had participated in Gulenist media but they have denied any connections to the coup attempt.

"In a country that recognises the true role of a journalist, they would not have spent a day behind bars," said Onderoglu, adding it was just "discrediting journalists for doing their job".

According to the media watchdog P24 website, more than 150 journalists have been detained in Turkey, which ranks 155 out of 180 nations for freedom of the press by RSF.

The next court hearing in the case, which involves 29 people of which 20 are still in detention, is set for December 4, Anadolu said.