Main opposition deputy claims ruling AKP recruited 800 pro-party lawyers as judges

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CHP Deputy Barış Yarkadaş

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Barış Yarkadaş said on Wednesday that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government had recruited for the position of judge 800 lawyers who had ties to the party.

According to a story on the Gerçek Gündem website on Wednesday, Yarkadaş said the AKP government held an examination for judges, saying that there were 1,500 vacancies in Turkish courts. “However, they only recruited 900 judges, 800 of them pro-AKP people,” he said.

Underlining that the decision was based on a recent government decree that was issued by the AKP under the emergency rule that was declared following a failed coup last summer, Yarkadaş claimed the Justice Ministry has been “unjustly” used by the government to set up the AKP’s own cadres.

According to information I received from the judicial community, there is a dark side to the exam for lawyers to become judges. Lots of people failed to be recruited although they scored well in the written test. However, many [pro-AKP] people were recruited after the verbal exam despite the fact that they scored 55-60 in the written exam,” Yarkadaş said.

Over 135,000 people, including 4,272 judges and prosecutors, have been purged from state jobs due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government accuses of being behind the failed coup on July 15, 2016.

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 Recep Tayyip 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.

As of March 23, 94,982 people were being held without charge, with an additional 47,128 in pre-trial detention due to their alleged links to the movement.

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