Turkey’s top judicial body disbars 13 judges, prosecutors over Gülen links

Turkey’s Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) has disbarred 10 prosecutors and three judges due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Turkish Minute reported, citing Turkey’s Official Gazette.

“Now that they have been found to be linked to, or affiliated with, the FETÖ/PDY Armed Terrorist Organization, it has been unanimously decided that the persons in question are not fit to remain in the profession and therefore, should be disbarred under Article 26 of Law no. 7145 and Provisional Article 35(A) of Law-Decree no. 375,” the state-run Anadolu news agency quoted the HSK’s decision as saying.

FETÖ is a derogatory term used by the Turkish government to refer to the Gülen movement.

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

More than 4,500 judges and prosecutors have been disbarred since the failed coup on the grounds of ties to the Gülen movement.

Since the coup attempt, followers of the Gülen movement have been subjected to a massive crackdown, with the Turkish government and pro-government media outlets demonizing its members.

Following the coup attempt the Turkish government also removed more than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs due to alleged Gülen links.

According to a statement from Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu in February 2021, a total of 622,646 people have been the subject of investigation and 301,932 have been detained, while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there are currently 25,467 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed on alleged links to the movement.

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

The HSK, Turkey’s top judicial administrative body, was set up to ensure an independent judiciary, but over time it has become a political instrument for putting the judiciary under government control.

The Stockholm Center for Freedom’s comprehensive report about the HSK, “Turkey’s Judicial Council: Guarantor or Annihilator of Judicial Independence,” can be reached here.

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