TURKEY

Ex-footballer given jail term in FETÖ case

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A former football player Tuesday was sentenced to over six years in prison for his links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt in the country.

A penal court in Istanbul handed down six-year-three-months jail term for Ismail Demiriz, 56 over the charge of membership in an armed terror group.

The court also ordered that a ban on Demiriz from traveling abroad will maintain.

Refusing the court's verdict, Demiriz requested to be acquitted.

Another former football player Arif Erdem -- being tried in the same case -- is accused to be a FETÖ member and fugitive now.

Meanwhile, among the defendants of the case, Uğur Tütüneker -- a former football player, as well -- was acquitted in February.

Indictment by the prosecutors read that Erdem was using ByLock, an encrypted cellphone application used by FETÖ coup plotters, and is believed to have continuous contact with the terror group's U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen.

It also said that Demiriz joined FETÖ while he was playing for Galatasaray, while Tütüneker was supported by FETÖ and helped it financially.

Indictment demanded at least seven-and-a-half years in prison for each suspect.

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Turkey accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

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