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Turkey fires over 200 judges, prosecutors over alleged links to Gulen

Turkish riot police detain demonstrators during a protest outside a university campus in Ankara on February 10, 2017, against the dismissal of academics from universities following a post-coup emergency decree. (Photo by AFP)

The Turkish government has dismissed 227 more judges and prosecutors over alleged links to an outlawed movement, as Ankara continues with its crackdown following last July’s failed putsch against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mehmet Yilmaz, the deputy chairman of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), made the announcement on Monday, adding that to date 3,886 judges and prosecutors have been relieved of their duty since the mid-July coup attempt.   

Turkish officials say over 240 people were killed and more than 2,100 others injured in the failed coup, which was swiftly put down as tens of thousands of people flooded streets across Turkey to support the government.

Yilmaz further said that 200 judges and prosecutors, who were previously sacked from office, would be returned to their jobs, adding that there were a large number of others who remain under investigation.

Ankara has since accused Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Turkish cleric and opposition figure, of orchestrating and masterminding the coup. He is also accused of being behind a long-running campaign to topple the government via infiltrating country’s institutions, particularly the army, police and the judiciary. Turkey has also outlawed the Gulen movement, his large organization, in the country and has branded it as “Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).”

Ankara has so far arrested over 35,000 people and sacked more than 100,000 others, including military personnel, judges, and teachers, over suspected links to Gulen, as part of the post-coup crackdown. Many rights groups have denounced Ankara’s heavy clampdown.

Gulen has censured the coup attempt and strongly denied any involvement in the violence. Turkey remains in a state of emergency since the coup.

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