Erdogan slams move to release ‘parallel state’ suspects

Erdogan slams move to release ‘parallel state’ suspects

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed the judicial action that attempted to release several suspects, including the chairman of a Turkish television channel involved in a 'parallel probe' case Anadolu Agency reported

In remarks made to the press before his departure for Kuwait Monday, Erdogan said the Istanbul 29th and 32nd Penal Courts of First Instance had exceeded the authority vested in them.

"The judges (of the Istanbul 29th and 32nd Penal Courts of First Instance) stayed late in their locked rooms, which is not understandable at all. It shows how dangerous these types of relations go far in Turkey," Erdogan said.

He termed the entire process as "totally unlawful and illegal."

"There is a direction from Pennsylvania," he added, referring to the U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen's "parallel state" movement based in Turkey.

"This organization's members will pay the price. This is not a random country. They will pay the price from A to Z," the president said.

He also said that the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors' meeting over the issue, which started at 2 p.m. Monday, had been late. After the president's remarks to the media, the board announced the suspension of two judges involved in the 'parallel state' case until an investigation against them finished.

Police launched an operation on Dec. 14 against senior media figures and police officers in 13 provinces across Turkey for allegedly being affiliated with what the government describes as the "parallel state," a purported group of bureaucrats embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and the police.

On Saturday, the Istanbul 32nd Penal Court of First Instance's judge, Mustafa Baser, had attempted to release Samanyolu Media Group Chairman Hidayet Karaca and 75 others, including some police chiefs, in the 'parallel state' case.

Following the decision, Istanbul's 10th Penal Court of Peace declared the decision null and void.

The detainees of the "parallel state probe" had applied to the Istanbul 29th Penal Court of First Instance, instead of at the Penal Court of Peace.

Metin Ozcelik, a judge in the Istanbul 29th Penal Court of First Instance, had allegedly asked the case files of the detainees from the prosecutors. However, prosecutors denied the request saying the Penal Court of First Instance was not authorized. After that, Ozcelik issued a decision about Penal Court of Peace judges, granting the recusal request of the detainees.

Later, Ozcelik sent the detainees' release request to Istanbul 32nd Penal Court of First Instance judge Mustafa Baser, who decided the release of the detainees without investigating the case files.

Gulen and his so-called Gulen movement has been under intense scrutiny in Turkey.

Officials linked to the movement are accused of conducting wiretaps of high-profile figures within the Turkish state as well as constructing a "parallel state" to overthrow the elected Turkish government.

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