Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 10 judges and prosecutors on Wednesday as part of witch-hunt operations against the Gülen movement launched in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, state-run Anadolu news agency has reported.
Police raided homes and offices of the judges and prosecutors.
Judiciary has turned out to be one of the major areas of witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against sympathizers of the Gülen movement.
A total of 543 more judges and prosecutors were dismissed from their posts by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) on Sept.1 over claims that they had links with the Gülen movement.
According to a report by the T24 news portal, the number of dismissed judges and prosecutors has reached 3,390 since July 15 coup attempt.
During disputed judicial ceremony which took place on Sept. 1 at the presidential palace, Erdoğan said that the detention of 3,495 judges and prosecutors as part of the purge following the coup attempt will not create a weakness, but rather will pave the way for real justice.
“Jailing judges without even the pretense of due process will cause profound damage to Turkey’s justice system for years to come,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb, Turkey director at Human Rights Watch, last month. “Bypassing the rule of law is no way to protect it.”
There are 14.661 prosecutors and judges working as part of the Turkish justice system.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced on Aug. 17 a government plan to name 8,000 new judges and prosecutors by the end of 2016.
In a recent state of emergency decree, retired judges and prosecutors were invited to return to office.
The Ministry of Defense also dismissed 76 military court judges and prosecutors on Sept. 2 over links to the Gülen movement.
Moves made by the AKP concerning the justice system have created further concern about government control of the judiciary.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu strongly criticized a ceremony opening the new judicial year at the presidential palace on Sept. 1, saying judicial independence is now “in the service of the executioner.”
During the ceremony where judges and prosecutors applauded Erdoğan by standing up, In his ceremony speech Erdoğan put “national interest” is the only criterion for all institutions including the judiciary.
“The nation did its best that night [July 15]. Now it is our turn as the judiciary, legislature and executive. We need to work differently from now on. We don’t have the right to work according to any criteria other than national interests and the needs of our nation and state. Before July 15 and after it are different. It must be different,” Erdoğan said.