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96 more judges, prosecutors suspended by HSYK over alleged Gülen links

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Turkey’s Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) has suspended 96 judges and prosecutors due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, according to a statement from the deputy chairman of the HSYK, Mehmet Yılmaz.

Speaking to the state-run Anadolu news agency on Tuesday, Yılmaz said out of the 97 judges and prosecutors who have been investigated as part of a probe launched by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, 96 of them have been suspended from their posts.

Yılmaz said the names of the 96 judges and prosecutors were determined according to the confessions and evidence collected as part of an investigation against FETÖ, a derogatory term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization despite lack of any evidence to this effect.

Yılmaz also said the HSYK has expelled a total of 3,530 judges and prosecutors since the July 15 coup attempt, while the number of suspended judges and prosecutors is 287.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement, and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

More than 115,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 90,000 detained and over 39,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.

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