Former judges Bülent Kınay and Fatih Mehmet Uslu were detained by Turkish security forces while trying to flee to Greece from Turkey’s Edirne province on Saturday.
According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, Kınay and Uslu were detained by Edirne gendarmes while trying to illegally cross Turkish-Greek border along with several other illegal immigrants.
Anadolu said the two former judges were detained over their links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of being behind a failed coup last year.
Kınay served as a judge in proceedings regarding match fixing in the Turkish Football Federation in 2011, and Uslu was a judge at the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court, which conducted a trial involving the clandestine Ergenekon organization in which several prominent figures in the Turkish army, including a former chief of general staff, were convicted.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 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.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, 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.
Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.
Turkey suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants following the coup attempt.