Turkish gov’t detains 10 judges, prosecutors, lawyers and more over alleged Gülen links

Turkish government has detained 10 judges, prosecutors and lawyers who were removed from their jobs over their alleged ties to the Gülen movement on Monday.

Detention came following the warrants issued by Tokat Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 10 judicial members. Judges, prosecutors and lawyers were detained in several provinces before being brought to Tokat province.

According to data compiled by independent monitoring site The Arrested Lawyers’ Initiative, 565 lawyers have been arrested as of November 28, 2017 since July 15, 2016 and 1,448 lawyers were under prosecution as of Oct. 27, 2017. Sixty-nine lawyers have received lengthy prison sentences thus far. Some of the arrested lawyers were reportedly subjected torture and ill treatment. Fourteen of the detained or arrested lawyers are  presidents or former presidents of provincial bar associations.

The Turkish government has arrested a total of 2,431 judges and prosecutors and dismissed 4,424 others since a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, a Constitutional Court general assembly ruling revealed on early August 2017.

Meanwhile, 24 people were detained over their alleged links to the Gülen movement on Monday. The Chief Prosecutor’s Office in southwestern province of Isparta had carried out an investigation into the the alleged members of the Gülen movement and issued a detention warrant for 18 people for allegedly using  ByLock mobile phone messaging application. Isparta Police detained them in simultaneous house raids.

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among the alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and even housewives, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

In a separate operation, the Turkish police arrested s6 military officers, including a retired and a dismissed officer, in the northern Samsun province.

Meanwhile, trial of several hundred people continued across the country, including two major trials in capital Ankara and Aegean province of İzmir over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Also, a Turkish prosecutor on Monday has demanded aggravated life sentences for 28 military officers  allegedly involved in last year’s controversial coup attempt. The suspects who appeared in the courtroom allegedly attempted to take over the Turk Telekom building in capital Ankara on July 15, last year. 27 of the suspects in the case were military students. The court on Monday issued an interim decision to stay the suspects’ custody. The final ruling will be announced in the next hearings.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic 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 has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15, 2016. 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.

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