New indictment charges 135 Turkish military jurists over alleged Gülen links

A new indictment, filed by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara to the 16th Heavy Penal Court on Tuesday, has charged 135 military judges and prosecutors of being member of Gülen movement in Turkey’s military justice system.

According to the indictment, covered by pro-gov’t media, a document titled “martial rule directives”, which was reportedly released by alleged coup plotters during the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the 135 military jurists were appointed to “martial rule courts” following the coup attempt.

The indictment has also claimed that the suspects entered the military’s judiciary system between 2009 and 2014 after clearing exams “under suspicious circumstances.” Indictments charges 135 military jurists with attempts “to violate Turkey’s constitutional order”, “being member to an armed terrorist organization”, “forging official documents and fraud.”

The indictment also said a lawsuit would be opened against a former Turkish Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) expert on charges of leaking exam questions to the suspects. The Ankara 16th heavy penal court has been urged to hand out life sentences of more than 45 years in prison to the 136 suspects.

According to the reports, out of the 136 suspects, 123 are in custody, three are on the run and 12 were released under judicial control. 31 judges and prosecutors working at Turkish military courts were also indicted based on the same “martial rule directives” document and the trial of the case began on Monday.

Over 145,000 people, including over 4,272 judges and prosecutors (the most recent figures compiled by Turkey Purge shows the number as 4,424), have been purged from state jobs in Turkey due to their alleged ties with the Gülen movement. Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has announced on April 2 that 2,575 judges and prosecutors have been imprisoned in Turkey since July 15, 2016.

The military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

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.

According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.

May 16, 2017

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