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Turkey arrests 78 lawyers in post-coup crackdown

Meanwhile, Turkish forces have arrested 78 lawyers as part of an investigation into suspected links to the movement of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of having orchestrated last year’s failed coup against Erdogan.

A security source, who asked not to be named, said the detentions were carried out across eight provinces.

Istanbul's chief public prosecutor had earlier issued arrest warrants for 189 lawyers on charges of affiliation to Gulen’s movement. Some are also accused of using ByLock encrypted messaging application for communication with fellow opposition members. 

Also on Wednesday, a Turkish court sentenced Aydin Sefa Akay (shown in the picture above), a top judge attached to the UN's Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, to seven years and six months in jail on charges of links to the failed July 15 coup.

The court also placed an overseas travel ban on Akay, effectively making his cooperation with the UN courts system impossible.

He was released pending the ruling from the Supreme Appeals Court.

Turkey witnessed a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when a faction of the Turkish military declared that the government of Erdogan was no more in charge of the country.

A few hours later, however, the coup was suppressed. Almost 250 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others wounded in the abortive coup.

Gulen has censured the coup attempt and strongly denied any involvement in it.

Turkey, which remains in a state of emergency since the coup, has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups, who were believed to have played a role in the failed putsch.

Over 40,000 people have been arrested and more than 120,000 others sacked or suspended from a wide range of professions, including soldiers, police, teachers, and public servants, over alleged links to the failed coup. 

Many rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have denounced Ankara’s heavy clampdown.[mr/ptv]