Gülenist judges in Turkey told to ‘repent to keep your post’

Gülenist judges in Turkey told to ‘repent to keep your post’

Gülenist judges in Turkey told to ‘repent to keep your post’

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Turkish High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) acting chair Mehmet Yılmaz has said judges and prosecutors who “confess and repent” their ties to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen could remain in their posts.

“We will discuss in the general assembly whether to keep in their duties those judges and prosecutors whose confessions have proven very beneficial and significant,” Yılmaz said. 

“We will discuss whether to keeping in their posts those who make beneficial confessions and help bring down the [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization]. Most important of all is that impunity is possible for them [in order to avoid being subjected to a legal case],” he added. 

The Gülen movement, referred to by the government and prosecutors as FETÖ, is believed to have been behind the failed July 15 military coup.

Yılmaz said the FETÖ could not be brought down without confessions from judges and prosecutors, adding that the HSYK would pave the way for the confessing judges and prosecutors who resign to become lawyers.  

“A serious reduction in sentences for those who confess could also be discussed. That’s why we suggest they could make use of the effective repentance law. The number of those who want to make use of that law has increased in the recent days with the emergence of the ByLock lists. I think this number will continue to increase,” he said, referring to the ByLock application, a messaging application said to have been used by the Gülenists for encrypted conversations.

Noting that all confessions would be examined thoroughly, Yılmaz told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency that confessing judges and prosecutors who provide “very beneficial information to decipher the organization” will be assessed positively regarding future cases. 

“Our general assembly could look positively at all those who help bring down the organization,” he said. 

Yılmaz also stated that the dismissal processes of 3,456 judges and prosecutors will be finalized at a later date, due to a recent rise in the number of confessing personnel. 

Meanwhile, veteran journalist Fehmi Koru on Oct. 20 spoke to the parliamentary commission investigating the thwarted coup, saying the Gülenists were supported during the 1990s by a number of presidents and prime ministers.

“The 1990s was also the time when they started to open up abroad. They were supported at the level of presidents and prime ministers,” Koru told the commission, adding that this situation had “continued until recently.”

Koru had served for 12 years at the Gülen-linked daily Zaman from 1986 to 1998 before distancing himself from the group.  

Since the July 15 coup attempt, a total of 82,231 people have been prosecuted, including 35,000 suspects arrested and 26,900 released on probation as part of a probe into the Gülenists, daily Habertürk has reported.