Turkish Deputy PM accuses opposition of not supporting fight against Gülenists
AA PhotoDeputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan slammed the main opposition parties on April 28 over their “lack of support for the government in the struggle against the parallel state,” the same day as Turkey’s high judiciary board allowed the prosecution against two judges who demanded the release of 76 suspects allegedly working for U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
Opposition parties of the parliament were in an “understanding of tutelage” and the government had to carry on the struggle against “parallel state” on its own, said Akdoğan, adding the parties had not stood with the government on the issue of “national security.”
“We have been saying this is a national security issue from the very beginning but some insistently do not understand this. The opposition is more royalist than the king. The state and judiciary are being challenged here. All political parties should have a common attitude against this,” Akdoğan said, speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the election bureau of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara.
Citing an attempt by a court to release 76 suspects affiliated with the “parallel state,” Akdoğan said they should “nip [the issue] in the bud.”
Akdoğan’s statements came as the 3nd Chamber of the Supreme Judges and Prosecutors Board (HSYK) decided to continue the investigation against two judges in Istanbul, judge Mustafa Başer of the 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance and judge Metin Özçelik of the 29th Criminal Court of First Instance.
The 2nd Chamber of the HSYK decided to suspend Başer and Özçelik, while prosecutors began an investigation. The 3rd Chamber also allowed for the continuation of the investigation the following day.
HSYK deputy chair and head of the 3rd Chamber Metin Yandırmaz said they also gave permission to start an investigation against İzmir judge Serdar Ergül, who released two police chiefs in İzmir facing charges of illegal wiretapping.
“Judges and prosecutors are responsible for enforcing the law. The Turkish Republic is a rule of law state. If the judges and prosecutors violate the law, chaos will rule the country. We, the HSYK, will not allow this. The HSYK will take the necessary steps against judiciary members who violated the law. Everyone should know this,” said Yandırmaz.
New judge cancels ruling on release
Meanwhile, the new judges of the 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance, who replaced Başer after his suspension, cancelled Başer’s previous ruling on the release of 76 suspects, including Samanyolu Media Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca and 75 police officers.
In the meantime, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy leader Haluk Koç said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is using the judiciary in “an undemocratic way.”
“The president directly gave orders to the HSYK, saying that its meeting was late over the legal crisis on the release of these suspects. He is the president of everything. What kind of a democracy is this?” asked Koç.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç also criticized the two suspended judges for ruling to release the 76 suspects.
“This may be a first time in the history of the judiciary; a judge who does not have the authority has made a ruling which is like stealing the authority from the judiciary,” said Arınç, speaking after an April 27 cabinet meeting.
Erdoğan has accused Gülen and his supporters in the judiciary and the police of seeking to establish a “parallel state” and orchestrating a corruption investigation targeting the then prime minister’s inner circle in December 2013 as part of a coup attempt.