Turkish PM Davutoglu accuses court of taking orders from US-based cleric Gulen

Türkiye Materials 27 April 2015 00:30 (UTC +04:00)

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has accused a Turkish court of taking orders from U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen to release 75 policemen and a media manager who were accused of planning to overthrow the government, Hürriyet Daily News reported.

"They have taken instructions from Pennsylvania [where Gulen is based] a week ago; we have the [voice] recordings. An instruction similar to: 'Release them from the jail.' We have defended the complete independence of the judiciary against those who have attempted to manage the judiciary. Some misunderstood us," Davutoglu told a rally in the Black Sea province of Gumuşhane on April 26 as part of his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) election campaign, referring to a recent judiciary dispute over the 76 people who were not released from prison despite a court decision in this issue.

"If someone sends you [judiciary members] a message that gives you instructions about your post and if you listen to these words, then you would be betraying the justice and judiciary. You will decide with your conscious. There will always be the people and the governments supporting you," he added.

A Turkish court ordered the release of 75 policemen and a media manager who were accused of belonging to "the parallel state" of Gulen, but a judge reversed the decision late April 25 as a chief prosecutor also intervened.

The defendants include former Istanbul police intelligence chief Ali Fuat Yılmazer, who was arrested in July, and Samanyolu Media Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca, who was arrested in December 2014. Like the rest of the suspects, both figures were detained as part of a major crackdown against Gulen-linked figures in the security civil service and the media.

Davutoglu called the ruling of the 32th Criminal Court of First Instance, which accepted the defendants' request for a recusal and ordered their release on April 25, a "coup against the judiciary," during his speech.

"Yesterday, they attempted to make a coup against the judiciary. A court which does not have the authority breaks the law and rules the release of the inmates. You don't have the authority, you violate the laws. Do you know why it is doing this? They want to say this: 'We, the parallel, are here and we are still strong.' I am calling on them from Gumuşhane. We are here as the state and the people. We will not leave this arena to Pennsylvania," said Davutoglu.

He also accused "the parallel state" member among the Gulen movement of stealing the public servant examination questions to help their members enter key state positions.

The 29th Criminal Court of First Instance in Istanbul forwarded the case on April 24 to the 32th Criminal Court of First Instance, which accepted the defendants' request for a recusal, ordering their release on April 25.

The 10th Penal Magistracy of Peace, however, canceled the release late April 25, citing a memorandum from the Chief Prosecutor's Office which argued the court order was unlawful.