Turkish police officers escort a Turkish soldier who allegedly took part in a failed military coup, as they get off a bus in the courthouse at Bakirkoy district of Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Judiciary officials in Turkey have been remanded in custody more than a dozen judges and prosecutors over alleged affiliation to US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Ankara government accuses of having orchestrated the failed July 15 coup attempt in the country.
Judicial sources anonymously told state-run Anadolu news agency that a court in the city of Istanbul had decided on Friday evening to keep 14 suspects in custody and release as many others on parole.
The sources added that the judges and prosecutors that have been remanded are among the 45 arbitrators detained following the recent botched putsch in Turkey.
‘32 diplomats defected after coup’
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says 32 Turkish diplomats overseas have “unlawfully” failed to return to Turkey despite having been recalled.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry has recalled 208 diplomats from their posts around the world.
Speaking at a press conference in the capital, Ankara, on Friday, Cavusoglu said two diplomats, based in Bangladesh, had fled to the United States, while the rest had taken refuge in other countries.
“Some of them escaped by sea, some by air. Some of them we have not confirmed their whereabouts. We will locate them shortly,” the top Turkish diplomat said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
Cavusoglu further said that a delegation from the US Justice Department would visit Turkey between August 23 and 24 to discuss Gulen’s extradition.
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said in a separate briefing that “four specialists” would constitute the delegation.
Turkish authorities have dismissed or detained tens of thousands of people from the military, judiciary, civil services and education sector in the aftermath of the failed July 15 coup attempt.
Bozdag said on August 9 that around 16,000 people had been remanded in custody and were awaiting trial. Another 6,000 people are in detention and await initial court hearings.
At least 246 people were killed and more than 2,100 others sustained injuries in the coup attempt.
Gulen has condemned the coup attempt and denied any involvement in the violence.