“This was an attempt to pull off a coup in the judiciary last night,” said Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu during a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) election rally in the northeastern province of Gümüşhane on Sunday, “Even though it didn’t have the authority to do so, the Court of First Instance acted beyond the scope of the law and ordered the release of the arrested suspects who are on trial.” The Turkish Prime Minister lashed out to the Criminal Court of First Instance, “You don’t have authority, you have no legal grounds.”
On Saturday night Istanbul’s 32nd Court of First Instance ruled for release Samanyolu Broadcast Group CEO Hidayet Karaca and 63 police officers, all under arrest over highly controversial charges. Karaca, who was being held in Silivri Prison without any indictment or any reason for the extension of his arrest, was initially detained as part of a major media crackdown on Dec. 14, 2014, just three days before the first anniversary of the massive Dec. 17 and 25 corruption investigations into then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.
“Do you know why they did it,” asked the prime minister during the rally, “they did it to say ‘We are here as the parallel structure and we are strong’. As a state, as a nation, we are here too, we are in the [town] squares, we will not leave the squares to you. We will not leave the squares to judges and prosecutors who act upon orders from Pennsylvania.”
The term ‘parallel structure’ is generally used by the Turkish president and his associates to refer to the Gülen movement (Hizmet movement) inspired by Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. Coined in the wake of the Dec. 17-25 corruption probes, Ankara accuses the parallel structure of being a shadowy covert organization that has infiltrated the state and is intent on toppling the government. With Fethullah Gülen currently residing in Pennsylvania, that location is also sometimes used to refer to the movement.
Davutoğlu also claimed that a week ago an order was issued from Pennsylvania for the release of the arrested CEO and the police officers, alleging that they are in possession of the order itself. “We’ve always defended the independence and objectivity of the judiciary against those who tried to manipulate it,” said Davutoğlu, “We’ve never manipulated the judiciary and never will. But if someone tries to interfere with the judiciary for their own interests, then we won’t allow that either.”
Scores of domestic and international critics allege that Turkey’s ruling AK Party frequently interferes with the judiciary for their own interests.
Published on BGNNews, 26 April 2015, Sunday
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