Turkish judges who ruled release of ‘Gülen-linked’ police officers arrested
ISTANBULAn Istanbul court on April 30 arrested two judges who ordered the release of 76 suspects charged with alleged links to the “parallel state” of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
29th Criminal Court of First Instance Judge Metin Özçelik and 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance Judge Mustafa Başer are accused of being members of a terrorist organization.
The 2nd Chamber of the Supreme Judges and Prosecutors Board (HSYK) decided on April 27 to suspend the two Istanbul judges, as well as a judge in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, Habil Kahraman.
The legal battle over the fate of 76 suspects, including Samanyolu Media Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca and 75 police officers, who are held in Istanbul’s Silivri prison, began on April 24 when the 29th Criminal Court of First Instance forwarded the case to the 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance, which ordered their release on April 25.
The 10th Penal Magistracy of Peace, however, canceled the release late on April 25, citing a memo from the Chief Prosecutor’s Office which argued that the court order was unlawful.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also fiercely criticized the judges who ruled for the release of suspects charged with being a member of “the parallel state,” a group allegedly linked to Gülen movement and with key posts in the judiciary and police.
“There is a group that seizes the authority that does not belong to them. The HSYK meeting that started at 2 p.m. has come very late. They [judges should] have started this on the weekend,” Erdoğan said on April 27.