The second chamber of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) has suspended seven judges and prosecutors for their use of a smart phone application known as ByLock, which authorities believe is a communication tool between members of the faith-based Gülen movement.
The suspended judges and prosecutors had been assigned to Ankara, Bursa, Karabük, Kırşehir, Çorum, Konya and Erzurum provinces.
It has emerged that the judge suspended in Kırşehir, identified by the initials F.M.A., was on Wednesday morning hearing the trial of a person who had been arrested over Gülen links. F.M.A. reportedly left the courtroom after hearing the news about their suspension, and another judge continued the session.
Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock.
Turkey experienced 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 the lack of any evidence to that effect.
Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
More than 135,000 people have been purged from state bodies and 43,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.