The Istanbul Prosecutor said today that he ordered the arrest of 126 suspects working in the judiciary, allegedly linked to the network of Fethullah Gullen, the imam whom Turkey considers to be responsible for the failed coup in July 2016.
Almost 250 people were killed in the failed coup for which Gullen, a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan, denies any involvement. Gullen has been self-exiled in Pennsylvania since 1999.
Turkey argues that in addition to the military and the state institutions, Gullenists have been involved in the judiciary. After the coup, thousands of prosecutors and judges have been dismissed.
The prosecutor’s office announced that the suspects were living in homes where the network trained people to work in the judiciary. The network then sought to place those passing the examinations in the judiciary as prosecutors and judges while the others were part of the lawyers’ network of the organization.
Out of the 126 suspects, 108 were active lawyers, eight were candidate judges or prosecutors who had previously been removed from their posts, and one was a candidate for acting judge or prosecutor, the prosecutor’s office said.
The addresses of 12 suspects could not be ascertained, nor whether their records showed them to have left the country, according to the same source, adding that the Turkish authorities carried out operations, in 37 provinces to capture the remaining 114, are ongoing.
In a separate operation today, the chief prosecutor of Ankara announced that he ordered the arrest of 18 suspected Guillenists, who worked as engineers for the Havelsan Defense Industry.
More than 77,000 people have been jailed in anticipation of their trial after the coup, and extensive arrests are routine. Authorities have sacked, or placed on suspension 150,000 civil servants and military personnel.