Duvar English - Reuters
A Turkish court on June 4 sentenced a media executive and a former police chief to more than 1,000 years each in prison for conspiring to bring match-fixing charges against top football club Fenerbahçe.
Fenerbahçe's then-president was jailed for match-fixing a decade ago and the club was barred from playing in European competitions for two seasons, but the case was reopened after prosecutors said it was founded on a conspiracy.
The 2011 match-fixing charges were made by prosecutors linked to U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, whose network is the believed mastermind of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.
Turkish football at the time was beset by allegations of match-fixing, which Fenerbahçe was accused of spearheading.
Fenerbahçe's former president Aziz Yıldırım was sentenced to six years in prison after being charged with match-fixing and forming an illegal organization. He spent a year behind bars.
At his trial, he denied the charges and said the case was specifically designed to undermine the Istanbul club which has won Turkey's domestic championship 19 times.
In 2016, an Istanbul prosecutor's indictment said the 2011 match-fixing charges were a plot by Gülen supporters, who had infiltrated the Turkish judiciary and police, to frame the club and topple its executives.
The court on June 4 sentenced Hidayet Karaca, who was the head of Gülen's Samanyolu media group - later shut down by the government - to 1,406 years in jail. Karaca was accused of instigating the tapping of phone calls and forging of documents.
Former police chief Nazmi Ardıç was sentenced to 2,170 years on charges including forging documents and conspiring against the club. The court handed down jail sentences to at least 25 other defendants.
Fenerbahçe Chairman Ali Koç told reporters that the court decision proved the club had been the innocent victim of a plot against it by Gülen's network, which is officially called the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). He vowed to pursue legal avenues for "financial and moral" compensation.
The prosecutors and judges who opened and ruled on the original case fled the country following the coup attempt.