A Turkish judge who faced an investigation for releasing a statement in favor of the summer 2013 Gezi Park protests has been dismissed from his job over alleged links to US-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) dismissed 2.847 judges and prosecutors on Wednesday for alleged links to the Gülen movement, who the government accuses of masterminding the July 15 failed coup attempt. The decision was taken by a unanimous vote and based on Article 3 of the State of Emergency Decree.
Tuncay Elarslan, one of the judges dismissed by the HSYK, reportedly had adopted a critical stance towards the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and faced an investigation in 2014 after he made a public statement on the second anniversary of the massive Gezi Park protests.
Speaking to the Birgün daily on Aug. 25, Elarslan said the majority of those dismissed had nothing to do with the Gülen movement. “The fact that we have been dismissed is humiliating. In fact, 80 percent of the judges dismissed yesterday [Aug. 24] were appointed by the AK Party government itself,” Elarslan said, adding that he will appeal the dismissal decision.
The Gezi protests began in late May 2013 in İstanbul as an effort to stop bulldozers from razing central Istanbul’s Gezi Park, one of the few green spaces left in the city’s Taksim neighborhood, to build a shopping mall. Unrest quickly spread across Turkey, developing into a revolt against what protesters said was the increasing authoritarianism of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decade-long rule.