The lawyers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen filed both a civil lawsuit and criminal complaint against Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu over the prime minister's claims about their client.
A written statement issued on Monday by Gülen's defense team, said they had filed a civil lawsuit against Davutoğlu, asking him to prove his claims that Gülen had issued directives to the judges in İstanbul.
They also filed a criminal complaint against Davutoğlu with the prosecutor's office in Ankara alleging slander.
In a public rally on Sunday, Davutoğlu claimed that “they [judges] took orders from pennsylvania a week ago. We have recordings [to prove it]. [That there was] a directive such that they [Karaca and former police chiefs] should be released.”
Pennsylvania is the word Davutoğlu prefers to use when referring to Gülen in order to emphasize his links with the United States.
The İstanbul 32nd Court of First Instance on Saturday evening ruled for the release of journalist Hidayet Karaca, who is also the chairman of the Samanyolu Broadcasting Group, and 63 imprisoned police officers who have been kept in pre-trial detention for months despite a lack of evidence substantiating their incarnation.
The court ruling came after the 29th Court of First Instance effectively declared judges in the penal courts of peace partial and as such not in a position to adjudicate the replacement of judges at these courts -- also known as “project courts” as they were specially set up by the government to punish opponents and critics.
The İstanbul 32nd Court of First Instance's order to release the detainees was not enforced by public prosecutors who were on duty on Saturday and Sunday, an unprecedented act in Turkish history.
The move was criticized by jurists as blatant government interference in judicial decisions and another blow to the principle of the rule of law in Turkey.
Davutoğlu claimed the judges at the İstanbul 32nd and 29th Courts of First Instance received an advance directive from Gülen to release the suspects.
Pro-government media on Monday pointed to a public sermon by Gülen posted on his website herkul.org last week as evidence of his involvement in the release.
In the speech, Gülen is heard praying for Allah's help in allowing wrongfully detained people to be released from prison and meet with their loved ones as soon as possible. He then asked his followers in the audience to say Amen to his prayers.
The sermon mentioned neither Karaca nor any investigators -- who were all detained by what the opposition describes as a politically-motivated investigation on trumped-up charges. It was a general prayer for the release of those who were unjustly imprisoned.
Gülen's lawyers said the lawsuit they filed will give Davutoğlu an opportunity to prove his assertions.
This is not the first time government figures have claimed to have evidence of complicity involving Gülen. Yet over the last two years they have never been able to present any evidence to support it.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also claimed to have evidence when he alleged that a woman wearing a headscarf was attacked by a group of Gezi Park protesters in 2013.
It was claimed that the woman, whose family has close ties to Erdoğan, was physically assaulted during the nationwide anti-government Gezi Park protests in front of İstanbul's Kabataş docks, where nearly 100 bare-chested and leather-clad men allegedly harassed the woman and her baby. These allegations resulted in certain segments of society withdrawing support for the Gezi protests.
However, the allegation -- spread by the pro-government media in order to maintain a unified stance with the government in its unlawful acts -- was disproved by a recent police report, which found that there was not a single piece of evidence or video proving the claims.
The video recording that Erdoğan claimed to have was never presented to the public.
On the contrary, a video broadcast by Kanal D TV in 2014 proved there was no such attack. In the video, the woman who made the assault claim is seen walking with a stroller near the Kabataş ferry dock before meeting up with her husband. Nothing extraordinary happens in the video, in which only two groups of about a dozen people walk by.
During the extensive investigation into the allegations, all 151 video cameras featuring the scene of the incident were examined in detail, including both the hours before and after the incident was alleged to have occurred. Police also met with all shop owners and citizens who were in the area at the time. But again, no confirmation of the occurrence of the assault happened. Even many tradesmen in the area were also interrogated in relation to the claims, but the result did not change.
Gülen's lawyers said by filing legal claims against Davutoğlu, they want to prevent another Kabataş-like lie from being perpetuated, especially during the election campaign period.
Published on Today's Zaman, 27 April 2015, Monday