September 27, 2015

Accusations, references to terror organization in Tahşiye indictment are fictitious

Büşra Erdal

The Tahşiye indictment based on conspiracy allegations is legally contradictory.

The indictment is a text of lies and false accusations published in the pro-government media. A review of this indictment from a legal perspective reveals that the principle of rule of law has been seriously undermined in the so-called New Turkey. The indictment, which implicates Fethullah Gülen and Samanyolu Broadcasting Group (STV) Chairman Hidayet Karaca as well as some police officers, refers to a terror organization based on a series of scenarios that have no evidence. The prosecutor himself admits that he was unable to offer a single piece of evidence for the allegation that bombs were planted by police officers in a conspiracy against the victims.

The indictment further says, “It is illogical to argue that delivering a message in a TV series is a possible reason for committing organized crime.” So the prosecutor also admits that the content of the indictment is not rational. In addition, the prosecutor commits a crime by trying to prove that the Tahşiye case was baseless because it does not fall into his sphere of competence. Because there is no legal indictment on the conspiracy allegations in the Tahşiye case, we cannot speak of a systematic approach. The indictment, involving 64 complainants and 33 suspects, reiterates itself in parts between pages 27-76 and in other sections. Pages 163 to 245 contain statements by the complainants. The prosecutor makes vague references to previous parts but doesn't present concrete evidence for the validity of the preceding sections. The names of suspects are mentioned in a list or in the appendix. There is no serious connection between the event, evidence and suspect -- an integral part of a criminal case. The only link is the vague and baseless report by the police department. If we take out the “parallel” report of the police, the accusations of the Feb. 28 judiciary and the lines from a TV series, nothing remains in the indictment.

Here are some insights on the indictment where laws have been seriously violated:

Indictment is the product of Dec. 17-25 process

The Tahşiye indictment is a product of the illegality and violation of laws after the Dec. 17-25 corruption and bribery operations. Prosecutors were given special assignments to reverse this process. Tahşiye is one of the judicial processes that was reversed. Records indicate that the then-Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç admitted that they called Mehmet Doğan, leader of the Tahşiye group, and asked him whether or not he would like to press charges against those who held the operation.

Tahşiye was already under the spotlight before Gülen's sermons

The prosecutor argues that the operation against the Tahşiye group started after Gülen's sermon in April 2009 and the accusation that he sent an instruction in this sermon to his followers. However, as also admitted in the indictment, the wiretapping started in November 2008. Subsequently, Ali Fuat Yılmazer, the then-director of the intelligence unit at the police department, briefed the local branches in 12 provinces about the Tahşiye organization. This means that before Gülen's sermon, the group was already placed under surveillance by the general staff and police.

Almost every TV series can be implicated as a source of a terror organization

The argument that an instruction for an operation was given in a TV series aired at STV is extremely ridiculous in legal terms. Such an approach would lead to the implication of a number of TV series for serving as a source of conspiracy and terror incidents. For instance, it is possible to raise a legal case against Show TV, ATV and other TV stations.

Prosecutor invalidates his own indictment

The main allegation in the indictment that bombs were placed by police officers was not proven. The police officers, whose fingerprints were identified on the bombs, are not identified as suspects in the indictment. The prosecutor admits that the suspects cannot be identified properly in this case: “The works and analyses fall short to identify precisely the suspects who placed the bombs and equipment in the residence.” This excerpt invalidates the whole indictment and proves that it is not based on legal premise. A court referring to legal rules cannot accept this indictment. If a court panel admits this indictment, they should take off their robes and wear a party badge instead.

The prosecutor acts as a member of court panel and places himself in the shoes of the Supreme Court of Appeals

The Bakırköy 3rd High Criminal Court is currently handling the Tahşiye group case. At this stage, the prosecutor argues that this is a conspiracy without offering a single piece of evidence to back it up; However, the Bakırköy court reviews the whole case, together with evidence and statements. Instead of the Tahşiye group members, he implicates the persons who are referred to as suspects in his indictment as perpetrators of conspiracy. Prosecutor Hasan Yılmaz, who seeks to exonerate the suspects in the ongoing legal case on the Tahşiye group, commits a constitutional offense by placing himself in the shoes of the court reviewing the Tahşiye case and the Supreme Court of Appeals which will make the final verdict on the matter.

Ergüder is implicated as suspect without proper evidence

One of the indications that the indictment contains libels, rather than evidence, is the situation of Tufan Ergüder, a former İstanbul police chief. Like many others, his name is mentioned on the list of suspects at the start. His name is never mentioned in the main body of the text; But despite this, he is implicated as a perpetrator of terror acts. And the statements of the 60 complainants are all the same. The section on the charges against the 33 suspects is full of copy-paste statements.

A crime of libel, restriction of freedom is being committed

Given these facts, this indictment should be referred to as a fictitious text offering no plausible and proper evidence for the allegations within. This is a text without proper legal content and argument. For this reason, it is fiction rather than a document of facts. If it is considered a legal text, then it can be taken as proof of crimes, including misleading the judicial bodies and the public and libeling innocent people.

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 27 September 2015, Sunday