Over 1.7 million terror probes launched in Turkey since failed coup attempt

Turkey’s Justice Ministry has launched over 1.7 million terror investigations between 2016-2021, opposition lawmaker Mustafa Yeneroğlu said on Thursday, citing ministry data.

Of the total 1,768,530 investigations launched in the country on terrorist organization membership allegations since the failed coup attempt of 2016, some 190,000 were initiated last year, Sözcü newspaper cited Yeneroğlu of the opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) as saying.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement, a religious group led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, of orchestrating the failed putsch of July 2016. Since then, tens of thousands were investigated, jailed or stripped of their government jobs after the government suspected their links to the Gülen movement and other outlawed groups as part of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s post-coup ongoing crackdown.

"These statistics are the most obvious indication of how unlawful the vast majority of the trials were after the (failed) coup attempt of July 15,” Yenerlioğlu, a former politician with Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said.

“The number of investigations in question has approached 2 million due to the trial of countless people who did not have any intention to commit a crime and did not have any action that could be considered a crime,” the DEVA lawmaker added.

Ankara implemented a two-year state of emergency following the failed putsch, but has kept many emergency powers in effect with an emboldened anti-terror law passed in 2018, which strengthens the authorities' powers in detaining suspects and allows for days-long detention without a charge.

Both Turkey’s Constitutional Court and the Court of Cassation are unable to prevent the "unlawfulness," that has been unfolding the country for years, the lawmaker said.

“The decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in recent years also show how unlawful the trials in our country are,” he added.

Turkey was ranked 117th among 139 countries in the rule of law index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in October of last year.

The country ranked 134th in terms of constraints on government powers and 133rd on fundamental rights, placing last in the eastern Europe and central Asia groups.

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