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September 01, 2014 AT 6:12 AM
One of Turkey's most senior judges warned against government interference in the judiciary on Monday, signaling a looming struggle for influence over the courts as President Tayyip Erdogan pursues a drive against his political foes. Sworn in as head of state last week, Erdogan has vowed to press a struggle against U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, an ally-turned-arch-enemy whom he accuses of using influence within the judiciary and police to try to seize the levers of state power. The power struggle dogged Erdogan's final months as prime minister and saw him purge thousands of police and hundreds of judges and prosecutors, steps that raised concern among Western allies and investors about judicial independence in Turkey.