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Former top court judge arrested in Ankara over Gülen links

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A former judge at the Council of State, Turkey’s highest administrative court, was arrested in Ankara after a prison sentence handed down him due to his links to the faith-based Gülen movement was upheld, the Sözcü daily reported.

Photos showed former judge Mustafa Dinç in handcuffs with his head pushed down as he was detained by police officers on Wednesday, which attracted criticism as Dinç was not resisting the police officers.

Dinç was among the more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors who were expelled from their posts in the aftermath of a coup attempt in the country in July 2016 under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

He stood trial on terrorism charges due to his links to the Gülen movement and was sentenced to seven years, six months on conviction of terrorist organization membership. The Supreme Court of Appeals recently upheld his sentence.

Dinç was sent to Sincan Prison in Ankara.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following the abortive putsch.

Following the abortive putsch, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

A total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in November.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

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