ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey dismissed 45 more judges and prosecutors on Monday as part of investigations into last July’s failed coup, the state-run Anadolu agency said, meaning around 4,000 members of the judiciary have now been purged.
Turkish authorities have detained, sacked or dismissed more than 113,000 people from the police, military, public service, judiciary and elsewhere since the abortive coup over suspected ties to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the putsch.
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied the charge and condemned the coup.
Anadolu also said the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) had suspended a judge and an official handling a case of 29 alleged members of Gulsen’s network from various media outlets, less than a week after the judge ruled for 21 of the suspects to be acquitted.
The case included the suspected administrators of a Twitter whistleblower under the pseudonym Fuat Avni, as well as other journalists.
Rights groups and some Western allies fear President Tayyip Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to stifle dissent; but the government argues the purges are justified by the extent of the threat to the state on July 15 when rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and fighter jets, killing at least 240 people.
Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Gulsen Solaker; editing by Ralph Boulton