Deputy chairman of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) Mehmet Yılmaz has said judges and prosecutors who have been suspended due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement may return to their posts if they provide useful information about the movement.
Thousands of judges and prosecutors have been suspended by the HSYK while many have been detained or arrested on the grounds that they have links with the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.
Speaking to the Anadolu news agency on Friday, Yılmaz said: “At the general assembly, we will discuss keeping those [suspended] judges and prosecutors in their jobs whose confessions [related to the Gülen movement] are helpful and important.”
He added that privileges will be granted to those who make confessions about the activities of the movement.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement, and the movement having denied the accusation and calling for an international investigation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
Yılmaz also explained that there is a list of around 1,000 prosecutors and judges whose names are mentioned in the confessions of others and in tips received by the police as having links to the Gülen movement.
“We call on them to benefit from the Repentance Law. The number of people who want to benefit from the law has increased, particularly after the emergence of lists of people using ByLock. I believe it will increase further from now on,” he said.
According to the prosecutors, smart phone application ByLock is the top communication tool among members of the Gülen movement. Critics, however, have blasted the government for detaining thousands simply for using a mobile application.
Tens of thousands of civil servants have either been dismissed or arrested for using the application. Critics say the use of a technological application is not a criminal activity nor is it evidence of membership in a terrorist organization.
New detentions are being made every day according to newly emerging lists of people using the application.
In a similar development, state of emergency offices established at governor’s office across the country have called on public employees who have links with the Gülen movement but want to part ways with it to benefit from the Repentance Law, according to a story in the Cumhuriyet daily on Friday.
The civil servants are required to make confessions about the movement in order to benefit from the Repentance Law.
The Turkish government declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt.