ANKARA / ISTANBUL — Media outlets reported on Friday that Turkish security forces arrested 60 lawyers and 44 military personnel in Istanbul and Ankara under the pretext that they are members of the Fethullah Gülen movement which is banned in the country.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has accused the Gülen movement of orchestrating the failed 2016 coup. The lawyers arrested on Friday are accused of organizing human rights activities in support of Fethullah Gülen.
On 31 August, Erdoğan declared that lawyers who are proven to be involved in terrorism are to be permanently banned from practicing their profession.
Given Turkey’s overly broad terrorism laws, that may include any lawyer who makes public statements deemed critical of the government or its officials.
Erdoğan’s statements came after angry lawyers placed, on the façade of Lawyers Association headquarters in Istanbul, a picture of the lawyer Ebru Temtec who died after a 238-day hunger strike following her conviction last year of belonging to a terrorist organization.
The 44 military personnel were arrested on charges of establishing Gülen cells within the Turkish Army.