Turkish police arrest second judge in ‘parallel state’ case

Second judge who ordered illegally release of suspects in ‘parallel state’ case arrested in Istanbul

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The second of two Turkish judges suspended after they ruled that suspects in the "parallel state" case should be released has been arrested.

Judge Mustafa Baser was arrested on Friday after his colleague Metin Ozcelik was detained at Istanbul's Silivri prison following their decision, which was later overruled.

Baser, who attended a hearing at Bakirkoy 2nd High Criminal Court in Istanbul with his lawyers, will be sent to the same prison as Ozcelik court officials have said.

Baser, a former judge of the 32nd Penal Court of First Instance, was arrested on charges of "attempting to overthrow the Turkish government or hindering the government's operation in part or full" and "being a member of an armed organization" - the same charges faced by Ozcelik, a former judge of the Istanbul 29nd Penal Court of First Instance.

The judges were initially suspended on the grounds of "damaging the reputation and influence of the judiciary" after they attempted last Saturday to order the release of Hidayet Karaca, the chairman of the Samanyolu Media Group, and 75 others, including some police chiefs being investigated in the "parallel state" case.

The ongoing "parallel state" case was launched on Dec. 14, 2014 against senior media figures and police officers in 13 provinces across Turkey for allegedly being affiliated with what the government describes as a "parallel state."

The “parallel state” is purported to be comprised of a group of bureaucrats embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and the police, which are suspected to be part of the "Gulen movement" led by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and his supporters which the Turkish government alleges is plotting to undermine it.

Suspected members of the "parallel state" are also accused of orchestrating a corruption probe which targeted high-ranking Turkish officials in December 2013.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu both slammed the judges' order to free the suspects, saying the decision "came from Pennsylvania," in reference to Gulen.