Turkish judges slam gov't, say Ergenekon probe recalls Hitler era .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} Turkey's Judges and Prosecutors Association (YARSAV) harshly criticized the government over its handling of the controversial Ergenekon probe, saying the situation recalls "the eras of Hitler and Mussolini". (UPDATED)

The Ergenekon probe should be protected against political influence and be objective given the fact that "Hitler and Mussolini had seized the government via judicial means," YARSAV said a statement on Monday.

"The Turkish Republic is not a police state. It cannot and will not be," the head of the organization, Omer Faruk Eminagaoglu, told at a press conference in which he read the statement.

Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin should remove "his shadow over the judiciary," the statement added.

Sahin immediately responded to the criticism, accusing the organization of acting like a "political party". YARSAV became YARSAP (Judges and Prosecutors Party)," he told reporters.

The Ergenekon probe, launched in 2007 with the discovery of hand grenades in a house in Istanbul, came under spotlight when prosecutors failed to bring concrete allegations or evidence against more than 100 people detained in the operation. The detainment of high-profile government opponents created questions regarding the political aspect of the case.