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Turkish judges sacked

December 30, 2014

Turkey's top judicial body has dismissed four judges who investigated corruption allegations against the inner circle of President Erdogan. The scandal dragged down four government ministers.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/Turkish Presidential Press Service

The four prosecutors are accused of abusing their authority by leading the December 2013 corruption investigation that shook the government of then-Prime Minister Erdogan, and touched his inner circle.

They were suspended on Tuesday by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). An investigation will determine whether they can continue in the profession.

The corruption probe became public on December 17 last year, with police raids leading to the arrest of dozens of people - including the sons of three government ministers and business allies of Erdogan, whose own son was also implicated.

The probe became one of the most serious challenges to Erdogan's 11-year leadership. In total, four ministers resigned. Erdogan responded by reassigning hundreds of police officers and members of the judiciary.

The four prosecutors sacked on Tuesday - Zekeriya Oz, Celal Kara, Muammer Akkas and Mehmet Yuzgec - were taken off the case weeks after the police raids, and new prosecutors assigned.

All charges against government officials linked to the investigation have been formally dropped.

Erdogan has labeled the crisis a "judicial coup" orchestrated by his former ally, US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, to undermine his rule. Authorites launched raids against pro-Gulen media earlier this month.

jr/sb (Reuters, AFP)