Top judicial board dismisses 227 more judges and prosecutors over Gülen links

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Prosecutors and judges stood up and applauded President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when he entered the hall and when he finished his address during a ceremony on Sept. 1 opening the new judicial year, which was held for the first time at the presidential palace and protested by the main opposition leader and the head of the bar association because of the venue of the event.

Turkey’s Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) on Monday dismissed 227 more judges and prosecutors over alleged links to the Gülen movement, bringing the total number of purged jurists to 3,866 since a failed coup on July 15.

Any perceived or real connection to the Gülen movement is treated as a crime in Turkey as a crackdown on the movement, which started after corruption investigations in December 2013, has intensified in the wake of the coup. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan holds the movement responsible for both the allegations of corruption that implicated his family and the coup attempt.

Seven judges and prosecutors were suspended in February 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.

Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock.

The botched coup on July 15 killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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.

In January, a leaked report by the European Union’s intelligence-sharing unit, INTCEN, stated that Gülen did not order a failed coup in Turkey on July 15.

In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention.

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