Legal personnel targeted by mass arrests in Turkey
As Turkey struggles to bring things back to normal after the July 15 coup attempt, there is finally an air of stability. The coup has been reported to have claimed the lives of at least 240 people and 40 coup plotters. At this point, charges must be pressed against those responsible.
The Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has been sorting the arrests of those who are suspects of participating in the coup. The government has made a series of mass arrests in order to assert power and bring the country back to normalcy.
So far, there have been approximately 35,020 detentions and 17,740 arrests. Out of those 35,020 that were detained, 11,597 were released by mid-August. The other 5,685 remain in custody waiting to face a judge. The majority of the detentions have been military personnel including 178 generals.
Additional arrests now include at least 1,684 judges and prosecutors turning this into a hunt for legal personnel. Two days after the coup attempt, almost 3,000 judges and prosecutors were arrested. This brought fears that the tumult would be used to erode the country´s checks and balances.
The fact that two of the arrested judges were two members of the constitutional court also brought concerns since this is the one institution still considered to challenge Recep Tayyip Erdogan´s government.
How quickly the arrests were made alarmed human rights defenders and political opponents who expressed their concern as to how these could be used as a cover to purge those who are critics of the president and the Justice and Developing Party (AKP).
An Istanbul lawyer, Ayse Bingol, stated, “We are talking about arrest warrants issued for thousands of people. How were they issued? Based on what facts? Is it a kind of witch-hunt or is there respect for the rule of law?”