A former football player was sentenced to over six years in prison Tuesday for his links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which was behind the foiled coup attempt in the country on July 15, 2016.
A penal court in Istanbul handed down a sentence of six years and three months for the 56-year-old former Galatasaray player İsmail Demiriz over charges that included being a member of an armed terrorist group. The court also ordered that a travel ban on Demiriz will continue. Another former Galatasaray player Arif Erdem, who is being tried in the same case, is accused of being a FETÖ member and remains at large. Uğur Tütüneker, formerly of Galatasaray, was acquitted in a February hearing in the same case where he stood trial for membership of a terrorist group.
An indictment by prosecutors say that Erdem was using ByLock, an encrypted messaging app used by FETÖ coup plotters, and is believed to have continuous contact with the terrorist 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 the group financially. Prosecutors 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 2016, which left 251 people dead and nearly 2,200 others 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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