April 27, 2015

Justice and mafiacracy

Emre Uslu

Last night, we witnessed the pathetic situation of Turkey's justice system. Let me make a brief explanation for the uninitiated. First of all, the criminal courts of peace, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan referred to as "courts" projected to finish off the Gülen movement, started acting in the way Erdoğan has been describing in his interviews.

After it came under the control of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) handpicked judges to assign to these "project" courts. Then, someone pressed the button and the lists prepared by intelligence units were sent to these courts. Crimes had to be found for the profiled people on the lists. To this end, newspaper articles, tweets and soap opera scripts were accepted as evidence and crimes were forged. Of course, these people were arrested as openly demanded by the political will.

That is, these projects courts were established and handpicked judges and prosecutors were appointed to them under the glare of publicity. Now, they are trying to fool us and want us to view the rulings of these courts as "lawful."

Of course, the lawyers of the journalists and police chiefs who were arrested in this process are raising objections to these rulings. The government has made it such that objections to these project courts have to be filed with another project court. The prosecutors of these courts delay preparing indictments, depriving the defendants of their right of defense. If those indictments are written, this will most likely signal the end of the project masterminded by the government. This is because the people who were arrested with the decision of a single judge will be tried by three judges. When the trial process begins, the prosecutors will have to present evidence. However, the evidence at the hands of the prosecutors consists only of tweets. For this reason, the government seeks to keep the defendants in jail until the elections are over.

One of the objections made by the lawyers is about challenging the judge. This objection was assessed by the same judge who is being challenged by lawyers. In response, the lawyers applied to a higher court, i.e., the Criminal Court of First Instance, noting that the Criminal Court of Peace consists of one judge and the judge in question cannot assess the challenge.

İslam Çiçek, a judge at one of the Criminal Courts of Peace, is known to have publicly praised Erdoğan before he was assigned to this court by the ruling AKP. He is the same judge who said, "If you challenge the judge, go apply with an upper court."

When the lawyers contested the judge at an upper court, the upper court held that the judge at the Criminal Court of Peace cannot try the defendants. When the authority to hear the case was deferred to another Criminal Court of First Instance, it decided to release Hidayet Karaca and the police chiefs.

However, the AKP launched an all-out attack and sent the prosecutor and the HSYK's inspectors to the courthouse at 2 a.m. to contain the release decision. The "project" court refused to implement the decision given by the upper court. Or, more correctly, the court was forced to act that way after a meeting held among prosecutors and the HSYK's inspectors. Consider a court where the prosecutors hold an extraordinary meeting and then the court hands down a decision favorable to the prosecutors assigned by the ruling party. Can you believe that that court is really independent?

The İstanbul Prosecutor's Office stated that it will implement the decision taken by the lower court but will not implement the decision taken by the upper court. Can you see the state of things?

This is not justice; this is mafiacracy. The justice in a country where prosecutors can implement court orders to their liking is mafia justice. And the name of the regime is mafiacracy...

Really, why are you so afraid of the police chiefs being released? There is no possibility of the police chiefs running away. They voluntarily surrendered to the authorities. They publicly and collectively surrendered. So far you should have collected sufficient evidence. What are the legal grounds with which you are keeping these people in jail?

This transaction was unlawful right from the start, and unlawfulness will increase as long as you extend it. If unlawfulness grows, it will swallow justice. If justice goes away, the country will lose. The specially appointed prosecutors and judges killed justice and the rule of law once again. The country will not benefit from this attitude.

If you intend to try them, why don't you prepare the indictment? If you are waiting for the elections to be held so that you can write that indictment, that text can hardly be called an indictment but an election manifesto for the ruling party...

Published on Today's Zaman, 27 April 2015, Monday