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Turkey issues arrest warrants for 189 judges, prosecutors

Arrest warrants have been issued for prosecutors and judges in Turkey as part of an investigation into July's failed coup. The suspects allegedly used a messaging app which authorities say was used to plan the coup.

Members of Turkey's judiciary were the targets of the latest round of arrest warrants as part of a continued crackdown following this summer's failed coup, Turkish state media reported on Friday.

A total of 189 judges and prosecutors face arrest over suspected links to the US-based Islamist cleric Fethullah Gülen, the Anadolu news agency reported. The Turkish government has accused Gülen of ordering July's coup attempt. Gülen has repeatedly denied the charges.

The accused include members of the justice ministry, as well as judges working at the Court of Cassation, Turkey's top court of appeals, and the Council of State, the nation's highest administrative court, according to the Anadolu news agency.

The 'Gülen App'

Authorities accused the judges and prosecutors based on their alleged use of a smart phone encrypted messaging app called ByLock, the news agency reported.

The Turkish government claims Gülen followers used the app to coordinate the coup attempt and to share secret messages. The country's National Intelligence Organization (MIT) began to decrypt messages sent on the app after May 2015, officials have said.

The government then used information gathered from the app to identify tens of thousands of Gülen followers after the coup. Authorities have detained hundreds of government officials and police this week due to their alleged use of the messaging app.

On Thursday, the Education Ministry removed 2,400 teachers from their posts as a result of the post-coup investigation, Anadolu reported. Turkey's Defense Ministry said on Thursday it dismissed 109 military judges.

Around 32,000 people have been arrested pending trial over alleged ties to the coup while around 100,000 people have been dismissed or suspended from government positions.

The purges have been carried out under a state of emergency which was extended for another 12 weeks this month. Critics say the purges ignore due process and have led to the arrests or dismissals of innocent people as well.

rs/jm (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

 

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