227 more judges and prosecutors dismissed over alleged Gülen links

İstanbul's Çağlayan Courthouse.

On Monday, 227 judges and prosecutors were discharged by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) under the directives of Turkish government over alleged link with faith-based Gülen movement.

With these most recent dismissals, the number of jurists discharged since the failed coup on July 15, 2016 has reached 3,886 over alleged links with Gülen movement which has been inspired by the teachings of the US-based Turkish Muslim intellectual Fethullah Gülen.

Meanwhile, former judge Dursun Ali Gündoğdu and prosecutors Adnan Çimen and Sadrettin Sarıkaya, who had overseen an investigation into the Iran-backed Tevhid-Selam network in Turkey until they were dismissed in 2014, were arrested on Monday.

The jurists, who were detained on Friday, testified from İstanbul via video-conference to a court in Ankara, which handed down the arrest decision for “coup plotting” and “membership in a terrorist organization.” Detention warrants had been issued for Gündoğdu, Çimen and Sarıkaya over their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which Turkish authorities accuse of being behind a failed coup attempt in Turkey last July.

As part of an investigation carried out by Bakırköy Deputy Public Prosecutor Ömer Faruk Aydıner, Gündoğdu, Çimen and Sarıkaya were accused of political and military spying, attempting to overthrow government of the Turkish Republic, revealing top secret state documents, fabricating crimes, forgery in official documents and professional misconduct.

Also, 301 lawyers are currently in jail and arrest warrants have been issued by courts about more than 100 lawyers in Turkey mostly over alleged links with Gülen movement. Moreover, 725 lawyers are currently under legal investigation. The list of arrested lawyers includes current or former presidents of bar associations. Head of 10 local or regional bar associations are currently in jail. Besides of arbitrary mass arrests and detentions lawyers are under the threat of systematic torture and ill-treatment in Turkey.

Fethullah Gülen and his sympathizers have been a vocal critic of Erdogan on corruption and aiding and abetting armed Jihadists in Syria. Gülen, dubbed as one of “The World’s Top 20 Public Intellectuals” in a list put together by the magazines Foreign Policy and Prospect in 2008. The Gülen movement focuses on science education, community involvement, interfaith and intercultural dialogue.

Under the direct influence and directives of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish government has launched a witch hunt campaign to root out alleged supporters of Gülen movement in Turkey and abroad.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, AKP government along with President Erdogan called the coup “a great gift of God” and pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

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 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.

Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, Over 91,600 people were detained, 45,012 people were jailed with pre-trial arrest due to their alleged links to the movement.

Feb. 20, 2017

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