Turkish police raid Istanbul courts and detain 136 judicial staff

More than 35,000 people detained and tens of thousands suspended since failed coup

Turkish police raided the country’s biggest courthouse and two other halls of justice in Istanbul yesterday, detaining dozens of judicial staff as part of the investigation into last month’s attempted military coup.

The raid on the Palace of Justice was a powerful symbol of a post-coup crackdown that has purged Turkey’s military, law-and-order, education and justice systems since the failed putsch.

Plainclothes police escorted detainees out of the building and into cars. Warrants had been issued for 173 judicial staff, of whom 136 were detained, the state-run Anadolu agency said.

More than 35,000 people have been detained (17,000 of them placed under formal arrest), and tens of thousands more suspended since the July 15th putsch, which authorities blame on US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen and his followers. President Tayyip Erdogan demands the US extradite Mr Gülen, and the purge is straining relations with Western allies who Turkish officials say appear more concerned by the crackdown than the failed coup that killed 240 people, mostly civilians.

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Detained

Police searched offices at the main court in the Caglayan district and at two other courts on the European side of the city, Anadolu said. The homes of those being detained were also being searched, it said.

In the crackdown since the abortive coup, more than 76,000 civil servants, judges and security force members have been suspended and nearly 5,000 dismissed, prime minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday.

Also at risk is a deal with the EU on helping to stem the flow of migrants into Europe.

– ( Reuters)