Turkish government issued a decree on Aug 17 for the release of 38,000 prisoners, the justice minister said, in an apparent move to reduce its prison population to make space for thousands of people who have been arrested as part of an investigation into last month’s failed coup.

Posting tweets on his official Twitter account, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ stated the regulation was not an amnesty, but “conditional release of prisoners.”

“With this regulation, approximately 38,000 people will be released from closed and open prisons in the first stage. I hope the regulation will be beneficial for the convicts, their relatives, our people and the country,” he tweeted.

The AK Party government declared a state of emergency and launched a massive crackdown on the supporters of U.S.-based Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen in the aftermath of the coup. Some 35,000 people have been detained for questioning and more than 17,000 of them have been formally arrested to face trial, including soldiers, police, judges and journalists.