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AKP favoritism in judicial appointments evidenced in mistakenly sent fax

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Amid claims that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is using a purge launched following a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 to install party faithful in state institutions, a fax mistakenly sent to a main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy has clearly shown AKP favoritism in appointments to the judiciary, Cumhuriyet reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, lawyer S.G., who is registered with the Afyonkarahisar Bar, tried to send a fax that included her CV and examination results for securing a position as a judge to an AKP deputy. Both of the documents she sent ahead of an oral exam for a judgeship were signed by the AKP’s İscehisar Mayor Mustafa Çibik and AKP İscehisar district chairman Murat Dikmen. The fax arrived at the office of CHP deputy Serdal Kuyucuoğlu.

According to Cumhuriyet, the fax was probably intended to be sent to AKP Afyonkarahisar deputy Ali Özkaya because Özkaya’s fax number is just one digit different from that of Kuyucuoğlu.

Speaking to a Cumhuriyet reporter, the CHP’s Kuyucuoğlu said the fax was evidence that AKP has been engaging in favoritism in oral examinations for the judiciary.

He underlined that the AKP has been systematically filling state positions with people close to the party after purging thousands with the excuse that they are linked to the Gülen movement.

Last month main CHP İstanbul deputy Barış Yarkadaş said that the AKP government had recruited for the position of judge 800 lawyers who had ties to the party.

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.

Claiming that the Justice Ministry has been “unjustly” used by the government to set up the AKP’s own cadres Yarkadaş said: “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.”

Over 145,000 people, including over 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 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.

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