Turkey suspends 3 judges for ordering release of 75 suspects
Turkey’s judiciary has suspended three judges from duty for ordering the release of a TV station boss and 74 police officers accused of plotting to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
On Monday, Turkey’s Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) suspended the judges two days after their court ordered the release of Hidayet Karaj, the head of opposition broadcaster Samanyolu TV.
Karaca, a former journalist, had been in jail since December over charges of attempting to topple President Erdogan.
The court also ordered the release of 74 police officers, who had been detained over the same charges.
The police officers were also allegedly involved in leaks of a corruption investigation involving Erdogan, his family and government ministers.
Erdogan has welcomed the HSYK decision, describing the court’s ruling to release Karaca and the officers as illegal. He also called the case against the suspects an anti-terrorism investigation, saying, “Justice will be served.”
Karaca and the police officers are believed to be followers of US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan has accused of scheming to topple his government with corruption accusations and damaging social media leaks.
Turkey has sacked thousands of police officers and dozens of judges over the past years in what is seen as an attempt to stop a legal investigation into alleged cases of graft and abuse of power.
The government’s introduction of some legislation for tightening the grip on judiciary and the Internet has triggered huge criticism inside and outside of the country, with many activists calling them direct violation of people’s right for democracy and freedom of expression.