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20 Jul, 2016 20:05

2 Constitutional Court judges arrested in Turkey, all military judges suspended

2 Constitutional Court judges arrested in Turkey, all military judges suspended

Hundreds of Turkish judges and prosecutors have been suspended by the Turkish Defense Ministry, with at least two Constitutional Court judges having been arrested amid widening purges that follow a coup attempt last week.

Over 100 members of Turkey's Constitutional Court, including prosecutors and other judiciary members were arrested on Wednesday, Turkish national broadcaster NTV reported. Two Constitutional Court judges, Alparslan Altan and Erdal Tercan are among them.

The same day, the Turkish Defense Ministry also suspended at least 262 military judges and prosecutors.

The judiciary officials were investigated as part of the ongoing probe into the attempted military coup, Turkish media reported. The ministry did not specify how many prosecutors had been suspended, but said an investigation into all military judges in the country had been launched.

So far, some 60,000 people suspected of backing the July 15 coup attempt have been detained, dismissed or are being investigated, according to Reuters estimates. The wide-scale purge of state institutions has affected judiciary officials, civil servants, law enforcement and education workers.

A further 6,500 education ministry staff were suspended on Wednesday, while 626 educational institutions have been shut, Reuters reported citing a Turkish official.

READ MORE: All Turkish academics banned from traveling abroad amid widening post-coup purge

On Tuesday, the Education Ministry suspended 15,200 personnel and removed the licenses of 21,000 teachers working in private institutions around the country. All of these education workers will be banned from teaching in the future, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily said.

The suspected pro-coup activists are said to be alleged supporters of a US-based self-exiled Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen. The government has blamed the cleric, who is Erdogan's ally-turned-foe, of running a campaign that led to an attempt to forcefully seize power in the country. On the other side, concerns have been expressed the failed coup might have only played into the hands of the Turkish government in its fight with opponents.

"Erdogan is using the coup as an excuse to stage a real coup," professor at Zaytouneh University, Ibrahim Alloush told RT, adding that "most" of the people who were sacked from their jobs or who were arrested "had nothing to do with that coup."

"Basically, what's going on [in Turkey] is Erdogan trying to impose a thinly veiled theocracy, which is a true platform of Erdogan's AKP party. These people are an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and their platform is to recreate not only a religious state, but reincarnation of the Ottoman empire," Alloush said.

Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has chaired a meeting with top military officials and security ministers at his presidential palace in the capital of Ankara, where he returned late Tuesday, for the first time after the attempted coup, AFP reported. Speaking earlier to his supporters in Istanbul, Erdogan has promised to announce "an important decision" following his meeting with the national security council.