ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has dismissed over 4,000 judges and prosecutors accused of links to last year’s failed coup after an investigation of the judiciary, the Turkish justice minister said Friday.
Ankara blames the attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on an Islamic movement led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen.
“Over 4,000 judges and prosecutors have been removed from their posts inside the Turkish judiciary over their links to the Fethullah Terrorist Organization,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said, referring to the name Turkey gives the Gulen movement.
Gulen, living in self-imposed exile in the United States, vehemently denies the claim that he ordered the coup attempt.
“The investigations have finished. At this moment, there is no judge or prosecutor left that we have not screened,” Bozdag said in a speech in Ankara.
He added that there could be further investigations “because of the nature of the organization,” saying: “We are facing a very different kind of terror organization.”
More than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended from the public sector including teachers, academics, doctors and members of the armed forces under the state of emergency imposed a few days after the attempted putsch and renewed three times.
Meanwhile, more than 47,000 people have been imprisoned because of suspected links to the movement and the failed putsch.
Ankara claims the Gulen movement had infiltrated the state and the series of purges are necessary to remove the “virus” inside the public sector.
But on Monday, human rights group Amnesty International hit back at the “arbitrary dismissals,” urging the government to implement a “prompt and effective appeal mechanism for those already dismissed.”