Turkish judge removed from bench following allegations of threat, blackmail

Turkey’s Ministry of Justice has announced the dismissal of a judge implicated in a number of allegations including threats, blackmail, bribery and substance abuse, the TR724 news website reported on Thursday.

The judge in the southern Turkish province of Adana, identified as Gül A., allegedly took bribes in return for having an accused fuel smuggler released, threatened her romantic partner with death and used drugs that had been confiscated by the police.

The ministry in its announcement said that the judge was first suspended due to allegations of threat and blackmail and ultimately removed from the judiciary, based on an investigation launched by the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK).

In recent years, several members of Turkey’s judiciary have been implicated in allegations of corruption, bribery and misconduct, bringing into question the quality of the country’s judges and prosecutors.

Earlier this year, a mobile phone confiscated as part of a fraud investigation revealed messages indicative of bribery involving two prosecutors, and Swiss media reports claimed that Turkish nationals have been granted political asylum in Switzerland by presenting fake arrest warrants issued by Turkish prosecutors.

Government critics and human rights groups often interpret such news as indicative of the collapse of the country’s justice system, particularly in the aftermath of a failed military coup in July 2016 to which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government responded by launching a widespread purge that included the immediate mass removal of more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors.

Many international observers have noted that the purges had a chilling effect on the legal professionals who continued to work in the judiciary.

Erdoğan’s government has also been accused of replacing the purged judicial members with young and inexperienced judges and prosecutors who have close links to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In a development that confirmed the erosion of the Turkish judiciary, Turkey was ranked 117th among 142 countries in the 2023 Rule of Law Index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in late October, dropping one place in comparison to the previous year.

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!