Zülfikar Tekirdağ, a Supreme Court of Appeals member who was detained as part of a government witch-hunt shortly after a July 15 coup attempt, was released when he said in testimony before a court that he knows President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in person.
“I was named as a court of appeals member in accordance with the will of our president. We acted only on the president’s orders,” Tekirdağ said, according to Sözcü columnist Emin Çölaşan.
Tekirdağ further elaborated in his testimony that his relations with the president are so close that he even knows Erdoğan’s phone number.
“Erdoğan happened to visit the pharmacy belonging to my wife on multiple occasions [in 1999].”
Çölaşan said the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) reinstated Tekirdağ to his former position at the Supreme Court of Appeals’ 9th Penal Division after his release.
More than 135,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 90,000 detained and over 43,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt. (Turkey Purge)