Over 4,000 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed over their links to last year’s failed coup, the Turkish Justice Minister announced on Friday.
“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.
Ankara blames the attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on an Islamic movement led by Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen.
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.”
The head of a parliamentary committee said there is no doubt that Gulen was behind the coup.
Resat Petek made the statement while presenting the report of a committee charged with investigating the attempt.
Petek told reporters the report reveals that Gulen’s movement “was behind the July 15 event with clarity and certainty.”
He called a Gulen “fraudster” who allegedly had been preparing for a takeover for the past 50 years.
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”.
Meanwhile, Turkish security forces killed 29 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in an operation in a mountainous area of eastern Turkey’s Agri and Van provinces, the Agri governor’s office said on Friday.
Turkey’s army said on Thursday three Turkish soldiers and a member of the state-sponsored village guard militia had been killed in the operation, launched in the Tendurek mountain area along the border of the two provinces, near the Iranian border.
A ceasefire between the Turkish state and the militants broke down in July 2015 and the southeast subsequently saw some of the worst violence since the PKK insurgency began in 1984.
More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have been killed in the conflict.
The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.