Turkey seeks arrest of judges, prosecutors over coup ties

Turkish state media say authorities have issued arrest warrants for 44 judges and prosecutors suspected of links to the group Ankara blames for a 2016 coup attempt

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkish authorities on Friday issued arrest warrants for 44 judges and prosecutors suspected of links to the group Ankara blames for a 2016 coup attempt, state-run media said.

The Anadolu news agency, citing a statement from the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office, reported that most of the suspects were believed to have risen to their judicial positions after benefiting from a leak of professional exam questions in 2011.

Most were later dismissed from their jobs, the private Demiroren news agency said.

Tens of thousands of public employees, including members of the judiciary, police and military, were fired in the wake of the failed putsch. Critics say the government has used the attempt to target a wide range of opponents.

Ankara accuses U.S.-based former Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of leading the organization behind the attempted coup, which led to more than 250 deaths and saw rogue military elements fire on civilians and bomb the Turkish parliament.

His movement is also said to have previously infiltrated its supporters within state agencies in a bid to seize control. Gulen has denied the allegations.