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Judiciary Quashed by “Civilian Coup”



The 19th  paragraph of the  Constitutional  Court’s  decision dated 26/7/2017  and numbered  2016/49158 has  stated that  more  than 4500 judges  prosecutors  have  been  dismissed:
On the  other hand,  in the  process, more  than 4500 judiciary members  were  suspended  and dismissed on the  basis  of their connection  to FETO/PDY  by HSYK. In this  framework the  HSYK  General  Board  was  established its  dismissal  decisions  on 24/8/2016 about  2.847, on 31/8/2016  about  543, on 4/10/2016  about  66, on 15/11/2016 about  203, on 13/2/2017  about  227, on 17/3/2017  about  202, on 3/4/2017 about  45, on 5/5/2017  about  107 judges  and prosecutors. Some  of these  were  reinstated  after their official demands  for reassesment  have  been accepted by the  General  Board  of the  HSYK.” [1].

The most clear explanation about the dismissal number belongs to Yunus Nadi Kolukısa, Chairman of the Inspection Board of the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK). Kolukisa, when he participated in TRT Haber on a program called with Expert Eyesight Law on July 14th, 2017, “In this process, as HSK, we took action about 4,521 judges and prosecutors on behalf of being a member of FETO, we dismissed them. Our investigation and researchs are still going on.[2].

The number of members of the judiciary, including those who were arrested and then released by judicial control, was 1.216, while the number of members still arrested was 2.431. Among these arrested members of the judiciary, there are 2.280 judges, 105 Supreme Court members, 41 members of State Council, 2 members of Constitutional Court and 3 HSYK members.

Alas, all these purges and cruel operations that the Erdogan regime has committed against the opposing groups by using the pretext of the controlled coup attempt are already engraved in Turkish history as black stains. The tragedies caused by these mass lynching attempts have been repeatedly named as “false claims of victimisation” by Erdogan and he called out to public that “There will be no pity for those people, if you feel pity, you will fall into a pitiful situation.”[3]. As a result of these non-stop operations, memories are filled with the news of individuals who committed suicide because they could not bear the burden of being falsely accused of being a terrorist; individuals who lost their family members who were on the way to visit them in prison; individuals who, even though being very seriously ill, are put into prison in their sick bed; many families who are separated; people who had to depart from their homeland leaving everything behind; and children who are abandoned and left forlorn because both of their parents have been detained.

Knowing that if one day the rule of law and democracy will prevail again in Turkey he will have to give account, Erdogan ousted one third of the judiciary and ordered for the detention of thousands of members of the judiciary.

Below are the few tragic examples – which became known only because they appeared on press or social media – that depict the situation of thousands of judges and prosecutors who are paying the heaviest price of not obeying the unlawful orders of the Erdogan regime.

1. Judges and Prosecutors Died During the “Civilian Coup” 

Mustafa Erdogan

Facing an arrest warrant under the pretext of the controlled coup attempt, Mustafa Erdoğan, a member of the Court of Cassation did not want to surrender himself to the security forces as he thought that his illness could get worse because of prison conditions and inhumane treatment he might face. At the hospital he went with a headache complaint, he was diagnosed with a 3rd degree tumour in his brain and he was told that he needs an urgent operation. After he had the surgery, he was left paralysed on the left side and was being kept in the intensive care unit. While he was still in the intensive care, with the order of the prosecutor, police officers waited at the door of the intensive care unit and eventually remanded him in custody. At the court hearing, he was released on probation due to his severe health condition. Only one day later, however, upon the objection issued by the prosecutor, another judge issued a verdict for his detention.[13]

The doctor prescribed him an air-bed to prevent his body from bruising because he is bedbound and unable to move. Despite the official report, however, the request for this bed was rejected on the ground that it falls into the category of technological devices. The former Court of Cassation member Mustafa Erdogan, for whom doctors said that he can live at best for two years, has died on 22 August 2017.

Seyfettin Yigit

He is one of the first prosecutors who conducted criminal investigations against TOKİ (Mass Housing Construction Agency) as part of 17 December bribery and corruption probe, during which four AKP ministers and three minister sons were also prosecuted. As a result of the corruption links revealed with this operation, Erdogan Bayraktar, the Environment and Urbanisation Minister of the time, resigned from his post, stating that the then Prime Minister Erdogan should also resign as most of the constructions mentioned in the court files had been made with the planning permission granted by him[4]. Because of these investigations he had carried out, Public Prosecutor Seyfettin Yigit was demoted and continued to perform his judicial duties in some passive posts until July 15, 2016. After this date, however, using the cloak of the July 15 coup attempt, the facts of which are concealed and turned into a complete whodunit by the AKP (the ruling political party), Seyfettin Yigit has been detained together with thousands of other members of the judiciary. He was arrested with the criminal accusation of “being a member of a terrorist organisation” and detained in the H-Type Prison in Bursa. It is claimed that Seyfettin Yigit, who was married and father of four children, hung himself in the toilet of the prison cell on Thursday night, 15 September 2016. His body was found by his cell-mates at around 5:30 am[5]. The rejection verdict to his request of release issued by the 8th Ankara Criminal Court months after his death was like a testimony as to how the law and the jurists are being destroyed with ignorance[6].

 Mehmet Tosun

Mehmet Tosun, a rapporteur judge of the 11th Chamber of the Council of State, was arrested only one month after his wedding. Although it was known that he had been suffering from an immune system disorder and was under treatment for the past two years, he had been first dismissed from his judicial duties and then was arrested with the accusation of being a terrorist. Later he was released on probation due to his health problems. Despite his severe health condition, his wages and health insurance have been terminated. His condition deteriorated and he passed away on 6 March 2017[7].

Upon the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s statement rejecting the news spread on social media claiming that Prosecutor Tosun had died in jail, Attroney and Former MP of CHP (the Opposition Party) Huseyin Aygun wrote this on his Twitter account: “Some are rejecting what I wrote about the death of Mehmet Tosun, a Rapporteur Judge of the Council of State. Here are the facts I got confirmation today: 1-Judge M. Tosun was arrested after July 15 and maltreated, 2-He was released on probation due to his health problems, 3-He was dismissed from judicial duties in August 2016 by the HSYK (Council of Judges and Prosecutors), 4-The HSYK rejected the objection in November 2016, 5-All these worsened his illness and was hospitalised 2 months ago and died on 6 March. Who do you think is responsible for his death? The policemen who arrested him? The Council who dismissed him? The Government? Or all of them?”[8]

2. Detained Judges Who Lost Their Relatives

 Fatih Canik

Judge Fatih Canik is held in custody in the Kahramanmaras Prison, but his family lives in Afyon. The Canik family, who has to travel a distance of 1500 km (750 km one way) for each visit, once more set-off from Afyon toward Kahramanmaras to attend an open visit. Unfortunately, they had an accident between Goksun and Kahramanmaraş city centre and Judge Canik’s five year old son died[9].

Davut Atak

Family of Judge Davut Atak was on road to visit him as he was detained in Sivas Prison. Near Yavu village of Yıldızeli District situated on Sivas-Ankara road, the driver lost the steering control and the vehicle hurtled into the ditch by the road. At the accident, Fadime Atak, mother of Judge Davut Atak, died, and his father was taken into intensive care. Aslı Oktar, Ahmet Ergül, Ahsen Gül, Sevde Gül Atak and the driver were injured[10].

 Ahmet Demiryurek

Brother of the detained Istanbul Prosecutor Ahmet Demiryurek died at the traffic accident on his way to Silivri Prison where he was going to visit Prosecutor Demiryürek.

 Hakan Oruc

The former Ankara Judge Hakan Oruc accepted the objection filed by some police officers who were under arrest for claims of wiretapping the phone line of the then PM Erdogan while he was serving as a member of the 13th Ankara Criminal Court. Soon after his decision, the HSYK, the now government-dependent Council of Judges and Prosecutors also added the name of Judge Oruç onto the list of those to be displaced. An investigation was initiated against him by the HSYK because he had accepted the Turkish Army’s judicial requests about the trucks found in Adana loaded with weapons. Judge Oruc lost his son during these difficult days when his place of duty was changed and sent away from Ankara. His son, Ilhan Oruc, was getting prepared for the national university entry exam. Having to leave his school and disrupting his preparation for the exam due to the relocation of his father only days before the exam date, caused him deep stress. On 11 March 2016, he had a cardiac arrest and unfortunately passed away. On the morning of 16 July, Hakan Oruc was shown among the jurists detained. His wife was dismissed from her job. He himself was arrested that day and has been in detention since then. The problems of the couple who had lost their 18-year-old son a few months before Judge Oruc was put into custody also continued after the detention. Having suffered a grievous year, the Oruc family is now waiting for the day that Judge Oruc will be released[11].

3. Judges and Prosecutors Detained Despite Being Seriously Ill

Ibrahim Ethem Kuris

While he was serving his judicial duties as Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor, I. Ethem Kuris conducted prosecutions that were critically important for the government such as the corruption in Deniz Feneri relief association, corruption in the Public Procurement Authority, and the Izmir Harbour investigation in which the current PM Binali Yıldırım was also involved This investigation has been taken away from prosecutor Kuris with a decision of non-jurisdiction, which was then sent to Istanbul. Just because he did not deny the corruption claims of the three prosecutors who conducted the Deniz Feneri investigation and because they showed Kuris as witness for the case they were being trialled, the HSYK, completely against the general practices, discharged Kuris from his post and sent him to Antalya against his will.

Following these developments, Prosecutor Kuris fell ill in 2014 and was diagnosed with a cancer. He went through a series of brain operations and received chemotherapy. He has not been able to perform any judicial duty since the beginning of 2014 and spent all this time in hospital.

After 15 July 2016, under the pretext of the coup, he was detained on his sick bed and taken under custody on a stretcher. He was denied his medications brought by his family. Due to the maltreatment he was subjected to and the bad conditions of the cell he was kept in, his condition deteriorated and one of his eyes lost 99 % of its vision. Although the hospital reports, issued before the July 15 event, stated that he had a serious health condition and he was carrying a high risk of death, after the July 15 coup attempt, based on the reports given by the Institution of Forensic Medicine under OHAL (State of Emergency) rule suggesting that he can stay in prison, his requests for release were repeatedly rejected. Eventually, the cancer has spread to his backbone. Upon the medical report given on 24 April 2017 and intense public reaction, the authorities had to release him on probation after holding him in custody for 9 months[12].


Zeki Yalcin

Former Attorney General of Şanlıurfa Zeki Yalçın was receiving treatment for cancer at the time of the attempted coup. He was first demoted as an ordinary prosecutor by the HSYK, then he was arrested on 18 July 2016. After his arrest, he is detained and put in Düzce Prison. As a reason of the trauma he had suffered during the arrest and detention, his illness got worse and swellings started to appear on various parts of his body. Although he was suffering a high risk of life, his requests for release have each time been rejected with trite, monotone sentences[14].

Sukru Durmus

While he was the Chief Prosecutor of Pamukova, Sukru Durmus was appointed to the Constitutional Court as reporter in 2012. He worked as reporter for the individual applications filed by the police officers who were punished by the ruling power because they had conducted the 17/25 December 2013 corruption investigations. In his report as the rapporteur judge, he specified the severe human right violations committed against the police officers. Due to his reporting, he was reassigned without his request to Istanbul Caglayan court house. He was later detained and put in Silivri Prison following the controlled coup attempt in July 2016. He fell seriously ill in the prison and hospitalised to be examined for cancer[15].

Dr. Hasan Mutlu Altun

Hasan Altun, a Reporter of the Constitutional Court, suffered psychological problems caused by the solitary confinement he has been subjected to. He is subscribed to antidepressant drugs. Because of the prison doctors’ lack of care, he used the drugs wrongly and his problems worsened. He went through a surgery for sleep apnoea, but he passed through a hard convalescence period because of a coagulation in his brain. Although he is suffering serious health issues, he is still detained under solitary confinement[16].

Bahadir Yalcınoz

In April 2016, Bahadir Yalcinoz, a rapporteur at the Constitutional Court, was hospitalised with the risk of growing in his kidneys and the pain caused by calculus formation in his kidneys. Medical examination showed that a surgical operation is a must for treatment. On 6 May 2016, he went under surgery for his left kidney; stones were removed from his kidney and a medical wire was placed. The wire was removed one and half month later on 14 June 2016. Yalçınoz started to wait for recuperation before his right kidney to be operated. However, on 18 July, he was arrested and then put in prison. The surgery for his right kidney was planned to be conducted at the beginning of September 2016. He was told that because the stone in his right kidney was causing blockage, his kidney would start to swell and eventually he could lose his organ which would put him in a life-threatening situation. When his objections to his detention were rejected each time with the same clichés, he filed an individual application to the Constitutional Court on the ground that his right to life was violated. However, the Constitutional Court, in an inattentive and careless manner, stated, “it is not possible to evaluate ‘whether being kept in custody poses him a life-threatening risk or not’, as it requires a medical expertise and moreover as health officers are available at prisons,” and rejected Yalçınoz’s application. Despite the fact that he is suffering from a life-threatening situation and carrying the risk of losing his organ, Yalcınoz is still refused to be released[17].

Tugrul Kececi

Judge Tuğrul Keçeci has to receive dialysis because both of his kidneys nearly fail to function. He must take all his medicines and he has to be on a special diet controlled by a specialist. Moreover, he has got a daughter who is suffering from leukaemia. Despite all these problems and although his health condition is too heavy to be treated in prison, he is still being kept in detention[18].

Coskun Halitoglu

Coşkun Halitoglu, a rapporteur judge of the Assembly of Criminal Chamber at the Court of Cassation had a cardiac arrest when he was being taken into custody after the July 15 event. He was released due to his life threatening situation. After his medical treatment, however, he is again detained[19].

Muzaffer Bayram

The former General Secretary of HSYK and Malatya Prosecutor Muzaffer Bayram, who was detained on 23 November 2016 and kept in solitary confinement in Keskin Prison. In the cell he was staying, his both arms were broken for a not yet properly explained reason. Although he was unable to take his personal care, he was kept in the cell all on his own when he needed assistance[20].

Omer Sevgiliocak

Even though Judge Ömer Sevgiliocak had been receiving cancer treatment before he was detained, the authorities completely ignored his condition and ongoing treatment and put him in custody. Despite the high risk of recurring of his disease, he is still continued to be kept in detention[21].

Mehmet Arzik

The former Chief Public Prosecutor Mehmet Arzık was arrested on 16 July and then detained. In the course of tenth month of his imprisonment in Silivri prison, he lost 17 kg. Despite the fact that he was suffering from ulcerative colitis, had bleeding, he was denied from receiving any treatment and his requests for release to have a colonoscopy were rejected with robot-like trite statements. Although it was known that if he did not receive urgent treatment his situation would worsen, Arzık was left to die in prison. Due to the intense pressure on social media, he was released on 9 June 2017 and placed in a hospital[22].

İlhan Ocak

The former Chief Public Prosecutor İlhan Ocak was taken into custody following 15 July events and then arrested on 20 July 2016. Ocak who has been kept in Bolu Prison for months now is suffering from haemophilia and osteoporosis. He also had a gastric bleeding in the prison cell he was confined. Despite all these problems, he is denied the right to be released. Added to all of his health problems, he is also psychologically tortured by being kept alone in a cell. Both the prison administration and his former colleagues who decides on his release requests are ignoring his conditions[23].

Selim Korkut

Even though he has diabetes and are using insulin and recently gone through a heart surgery, Selim Korkut is continued to be kept in custody in Bandırma Prison and is rejected to be released.

4. Judges and Prosecutors Detained Despite Severely Ill or Handicapped Children

Seyfullah Cakmak

The former Kocaeli Public Prosecutor Seyfullah Çakmak has got three children. Two of his children are handicapped and bed-bound and completely in need of receiving care from others. Nearly all of his 19-years-of marriage has passed in hospitals. They have not been able to have children for seven years. The twin babies they had on the 5th trial for in-vitro fertilisation, died at birth on 9 November 2005. As a result of the 7th trial for in-vitro fertilisation, their elder daughter Tugba was born on 29 September 2007, alas with a genetic disorder called non-ketotic hyperglycaemia. Tugba is now 10 years old, she is bed-bound and in need of constant care. On 23 March 2009, their only healthy child, Tugce Seher, was born. In 2013, after a pregnancy mostly passed in hospital, his wife delivered their son Omer on 26 January 2014. Unfortunately he is, too suffering from the same disorder as his sister. He stayed in hospital for a month in a comatose state. During that time, his mother stayed with him, while Seyfullah Cakmak took care of their other children by himself.

After his detention, his wife Hacer Çakmak is left alone. Hacer Çakmak’s 72-year-old mother has got a heart disease, is unable to walk and currently looked after by her 79-year-old father. Since her older sister suffers from epilepsy and no-one left alive from her husband Seyfullah Cakmak’s family, Hacer Cakmak has no one to help her. In detention, Public Prosecutor Seyfullah Cakmak suffered from an emotional disorder and on 2 March 2017, he applied to Kocaeli University Psychiatry Department to receive a treatment. As stated in the Medical Board Report Dated 02.03.2017 with No. 3744, the department diagnosed that he is suffering from a “major depressive disorder” and advised that he must not be kept in solitary confinement. Despite all these facts, Seyfullah Cakmak is still kept in solitary cell and refused to be released[24].

Tayfun Kaya – Semra Kaya

Prosecutor Tayfun Kaya’s son, one of his three children born in 2002, is suffering from a mental retardation with 94 – 98 per cent severity level. He cannot talk and has great difficulties in walking and been going through repetitive orthopaedic surgeries. He has got a brain capacity of a one-year-old child. His treatments were conducted in four different departments of Hacettepe University Hospital. Whether he needs a new orthopaedic surgery or not is determined with the regular checks carried out at the hospital. Even his routine dental procedures are performed under general anaesthesia. His dental operations, which take mostly an hour for a normal person, take sometimes months because of the checks and examinations he has to go through. Even in the capital city of Ankara, only Hacettepe University Hospital and Tepebasi Dental Hospital can carry out his dental procedures. Semra Kaya, his wife, is also a judge dismissed after 15 July 2016. After her husband was detained, she has to look after their son whose body weight is now beyond her lifting power. Meanwhile, their 6-year-old daughter suffers from a septal defect in her heart and carries the risk of heart failure. Within an international project, it is currently being researched whether her heart condition carries the attributes of her brother’s metabolic disorder. Their only physically healthy child is their 3rd grader son, who is receiving psychological support in Hacettepe University, because he has problems with accepting the situation of, and communicating with, his disabled elder brother[25].

Ismail Turgut Kildan – Kamile Kildan

Public Prosecutor Ismail Turgut Kıldan was detained after 15 July 2016 and his wife Judge Kamile Kıldan also dismissed from her judicial profession. Although they have children with down syndrome in need of care, Prosecutor Kildan is still not released.

Alparslan Altan

The former member of the Constitutional Court, Dr. Alparslan Altan, has got two children. His elder son is severely affected with autism and had hysterical fit when his father was detained[26].

Bayram Yazan

After the detention of Bayram Yazan, a rapporteur judge at the Court of Cassation, his wife is left alone with three children, one of whom is 98 % disabled.

Suat Recber

One year before the July 15 event, one of the two children of the detained Judge Suat Recber had a heart transplantation. Even though he has a severely ill child in need of constant care, Judge Recber is still not released[27].

Ali Fuat Demirkol – Gulsah Demirkol

After the detention of Judge Ali Fuat Demirkol, his wife Judge Gülşah Demirkol has also been dismissed from her judicial profession. They have got two children. Unfortunately, their younger child, is diagnosed with hydrocephaly. Even though he has got a child who went through six surgeries and has to be kept under regular medical check, Judge Demirkol is still not released[28].

Ekrem Yigit

The former Duzce Chief Public Prosecutor Ekrem Yigit was not even actively working in his profession on 15 July 2016. He was actually retired years ago. Although he has got a handicapped daughter in need of his care, he is detained on grounds of past claims and still not released[29].

Kemal Karanfil

Judge Kemal Karanfil, while he was serving as a judge at a Criminal Peace Judgeship, he filed an application to the Constitutional Court for a determination of unconstitutionality of the Criminal Peace Judgeships, which are created by the government for special purposes. While he was working in Eskisehir, his younger son fell down from a high floor of an apartment building into the open shaft and was heavily injured. Although he came out of the intensive care, his treatment was still continued when his Judge Karanfil was first reassigned to Zonguldak and then detained under the pretext of the July 15 controlled coup attempt[30]. What is worse, he has now been transferred from Kandıra Prison to a solitary confinement in Silivri Prison without even informing his family.

Mustafa Yilmazel

Even though his child is autistic and in need of his care and support, Mustafa Yılmazel is not yet released.

5. Judiciary Couples Whose Children Left Unguarded

Neslihan Ekinci – Dr. Huseyin Ekinci

Zeynep Rana Ekinci is the only child of the currently detained judges Neslihan Ekinci and Dr. Huseyin Ekinci. She is a senior student of law at a private university. After the arrests, the father was taken to Silivri Prison, while her mother was placed to Bakırkoy Women’s Prison, both have been kept in solitary confinement. Having no other income during the period when family’s belongings were confiscated, Rana had to pay the college fee with the money she borrowed. Because she could not pay the rent, she had to move into her friends’ flat and at present, she is living on her humble student loan. Judge Neslihan Ekinci, after meticulously cleaning the bed, the walls and the toilet in the cell she was staying, the prison administration moved her to another cell, which caused her to go in a crying fit which continued for 18 hours. Upon this, she was taken to Bakırkoy Mental and Neurological Disorders Hospital with a diagnosis of major depression. After staying in the hospital for one week, she was discharged from the hospital. Let alone being released for reasons having an unattended daughter and mental illness, she is not taken to a ward and still kept in solitary confinement despite the doctor’s report suggesting that she must not stay alone[31].

Songul Babayigit – Mustafa Babayigit

While Judge Mustafa Babayigit is under detention in Kocaeli, his wife Judge Songül Babayigit is detained in Tokat. Judge Mustafa Babayigit is suffering from thyroid cancer, while on the other hand, the couple’s two daughters, born in 2008 and 2013, are left unguarded after both of their parents were detained. Because they are kept in cities very far from each other, children are unable to visit their parents regularly. Despite their unattended children who are longing to join their parents, their requests for release are each time rejected with routine and cliché sentences[32].

Yesim Sayildi – Selcuk Sayildi

Judge Yeşim Sayıldı was a candidate for the HSYK elections held in October 2014. However, Judge Yeşim Sayıldı and her husband Judge Selçuk Sayıldı were displaced from their judicial posts in Ankara by the YBD (Association of Unity in Judiciary) members in the HSYK, whose first activity was to eliminate their opponents by appointing them to posts in other cities, against their wishes. Later, they have been both detained under the pretext of the July 15 controlled coup attempt. The couple, who are still kept in detention, have got two hapless children left unattended[33].

Ayse Nese Gul – Cevat Gul

Judge Ayşe Nese Gul was a candidate for the HSYK elections held in October 2014 and received more than five thousand votes. After the elections, she and her husband Judge Cevat Gul were transferred to Edirne by the YBD members of the HSYK against their wish. Judge Ayse Nese Gul was abroad before the July 15 2016 coup attempt. Although she knew about the purge conducted against the members of the judiciary, she returned Turkey. As soon as she set foot in her country, together with her husband, she was arrested and, at present, they are both detained. The couple, who are kept in detention since 20 July 2016, left behind two unattended children[34].


Unfortunately, these are only a few examples we know of just because they appeared on the media and they are only small portion of the big picture that depicts the atrocity imposed on the members of the judiciary in Turkey. Only this much we managed to reach in an environment where the media, which is considered as the fourth power in democracies, is unfortunately made dependent to the ruling power, and oppression and intimidation is exerted on the remaining very few opponent press agencies to prevent them broadcast freely. There must be many more unjust victimisation cases which we do not hear about.

The judges and prosecutors, who are punished together with their relatives and/or left to die by their colleagues who are breaching and dishonouring the universal principles of law and also adopted by the Constitution, such as the presumption of innocence, and individuality of offences and penalties, are urgently awaiting the ECHR and all other international judicial authorities to monitor these cases and not to remain silent or content themselves with only slight criticisms.


  1. Constitutional Court decision  26/7/2017  2016/49158 paragrafh  19
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