Turkey frees 38,000 inmates to make space for coup suspects

CCTV News

Turkey Military Coup Relatives and friends of prisoners wait outside a high security prison complex in Silivri, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Istanbul, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

​Turkey has begun freeing 38,000 prisoners, after announcing a penal reform that will make space for tens of thousands of suspects rounded up over last month’s attempted coup.

The reform was one of a series of measures outlined last week in two decrees under a state of emergency declared after the July 15 failed military coup.

CCTV’s Natalie Carney has more from Istanbul.

Turkey frees 38000 inmates to make space for coup suspects

Turkey frees 38000 inmates to make space for coup suspects

urkey has begun freeing 38,000 prisoners, after announcing a penal reform that will make space for tens of thousands of suspects rounded up over last month's attempted coup.

For days family members have been waiting patiently outside the Silivri prison in Istanbul because information is limited.

“We are in a misery. We can’t find out anything. They should release them,” said Sabahatin Civali. “We are here because of the new law. God bless our minister. He was supposed to stay 15 months more.”

Outside prisons and jails across the country, fathers, mothers, wives, sons and daughters are waiting to be reunited with their loved ones.

The measure affects inmates with less than two years left in their sentence for crimes committed before July 1, which does not affect those arrested after the July 15 coup attempt.

Also excluded are those charged with murder, domestic violence, sexual abuse, or crimes against the state, such as terrorism.

Yet while these are happy days for some, others are pinning for the release of their military academy sons who were swept up the night of the coup.

They continue to wait while the student’s cases are processed. This is further complicated by the detention of a number of prosecutors and judges following the coup.

The mandate also allows for those who have served half their sentence to be eligible for parole. In total, 93,000 inmates are expected to be released over time.

But exactly when is what these anxious family members want to know now.