October 4, 2015

Kılıçdaroğlu slams ‘nonsensical’ indictment, says prosecutor should work for Erdoğan

The leader of the main opposition party has blasted a recent indictment prepared by İstanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor İsmail Uçar regarding Turkey's largest-ever corruption investigations, saying the author of the indictment is a prosecutor of the illegal palace -- referring to the presidency -- and not the republic.

Speaking to supporters as part of an election campaign event in Antalya province on Sunday, Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said, “The prosecutor who wrote this indictment cannot be called a prosecutor of the republic; he is a prosecutor of the illegal palace.”

The palace built to host the presidency has been dubbed the “kaç'Ak-Saray” by critics, evoking the word “kaçak,” which means runaway or illegal and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). The play on words is intended to highlight the illegality of the building, which was built at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's command on the Atatürk Forestry Farm (AOC), a recreational farming area in Ankara.

"The indictment is nonsensical; the law is being trodden on. I think the individual should stop working as a prosecutor and become a legal counselor for the palace," Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The indictment has been ridiculed; Uçar included false articles from pro-government newspapers and characters from a movie blockbuster, but does not offer a shred of evidence in the indictment to prove his case.

The indictment, submitted to the İstanbul Public Prosecutor's Office on Thursday, seeks to turn Turkey's largest-ever graft scandals into an “anti-coup” investigation.

It refers to the beginning of mankind with the story of Adam and continues with the story of Cain and Abel who, according to the Bible's Book of Genesis, are the two sons of Adam and Eve. In the Cain and Abel story found in the Quran, the text refers to them simply as the “sons of Adam.”

Prosecutor Uçar then fast forwards several thousand years of history to include in the indictment the Lydians and Phrygians -- both ancient societies who lived in western Anatolia -- and the Roman Empire. He even includes the capture of Constantinople, now known as İstanbul, by Ottoman Turks.

He maintains that the capture of Constantinople from the Byzantine Empire has caused Western nations to carry a sense of hatred for Turkey and that “foreign powers” are keeping alive the notion of a revival of the Byzantine Empire.

The prosecution added entire news articles from staunchly pro-government dailies to the indictment to bolster his argument. One article in particular, published in the Sabah daily in 2012, refers to Smeagol, the fictional character from J.R.R. Tolkien's “Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” books.

The article, which Uçar added to the indictment, maintains, “Those who tried to steal roles from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (like Smeagol trying to steal the ring from Frodo) have always faced defeat. Let us see who the winner of the last war, the Armageddon, will be.”

Uçar uses the indictment to accuse the police chiefs who launched the graft probes revealed on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013, in which individuals from then-Prime Minister Erdoğan's family and inner circle were also implicated, of attempting a coup against the AK Party government.

According to the indictment submitted to the İstanbul Public Prosecutor's Office on Thursday, 69 people including police chiefs Yakup Saygılı and Kazım Aksoy are charged with attempting a coup against the AK Party government.

Saygılı and Aksoy headed the December 2013 graft probes. They have been under arrest since Sept. 4, 2014 as part of the investigation.

On Dec. 17, 2013, Turkey woke to breaking news of dozens of high-profile figures, including the sons of four cabinet ministers in Erdoğan's government, being detained.

The investigations revealed the largest corruption and bribery network in the history of the Turkish Republic and led to the resignation of the four ministers in Erdoğan's cabinet. The charges ranged from engaging in acts of corruption and bribery to transferring gold to Iran in order to undermine a US-led sanction.

Six other police officers, as well as prominent Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, are also among the suspects who face charges of "establishing an armed terrorist organization," "attempting to overthrow the government by force and violence" and “publicizing confidential state documents.”

Gülen, who has been accused without any tangible proof of establishing and leading a terrorist organization as well as of the accusation of espionage, is an inspiration for the sympathizers of the faith-based Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement. A life sentence is sought for Gülen.

Among the main suspects of the Dec. 25 investigation was President Erdoğan's son Bilal, businessmen Mehmet Cengiz, Mustafa Latif Topbaş and Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi, a supposed financier of al-Qaeda.

According to the original summary of proceedings of the Dec. 25 graft investigation, there were 96 suspects in the investigation, with Qadi as the number one suspect.

The organizations or companies that were also involved in these offenses were the Turkuaz Group (owners of the Sabah daily and the ATV station); the Bosphorus 360 construction company; BİM, a Turkish discount grocer; the Prime Ministry Development Agency; the Kalyoncu Group; the İstanbul Public Housing Corporation (KİPTAŞ); the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality; and the Foundation of Youth and Education in Turkey (TÜRGEV), whose executive board member is Bilal Erdoğan.

Following the two graft probes, the AK Party government removed tens of thousands of police officers while some police officers were forced to retire.

Uçar maintains that the testimony of a secret witness that the two police chiefs implicated in the investigation changed the subject of their conversation when a third police officer entered the room constitutes proof that the police chiefs are running a secret organization.

In the indictment this incident is recorded as: “[The fact that] the conversation between them [the two police chiefs] was secret and that they changed the subject when a third police officer who was not from cemaat joined them clearly demonstrates the organization.”

The term “cemaat” is used to describe supporters of the Gülen movement.

In a puzzling move, Uçar states that the actions of the very police chiefs he prepared the indictment for were in line with the law. “There is nothing more normal than the police surveilling a person who has committed a crime,” Uçar states.

“In any case the police did not undertake the operation by themselves. All of the processes were undertaken under the supervision of the public prosecutor. The technical surveillance, physical surveillance and process of identifying communications [between suspects] were done in relation to a court order.”

After failing to provide any tangible evidence in the indictment, Uçar goes on to claim the case file itself is proof enough. “Case file 2012/656 that is subject to our indictment is the primary evidence for the indictment. There is no need to search for any other evidence.”

Prosecutor calls for single party gov't in graft probe indictment

Prosecutor İsmail Uçar, who recently submitted an indictment turning Turkey's largest-ever graft scandal into an “anti-coup” investigation, points out in his indictment that Turkey would function better with the presidential system as well as highlighting the necessity of a single-party government.

Uçar, who authored the indictment, wrote that Turkey should have a single-party government because they are more “stable.”

“This is why,” he continues, “in countries which conform to the bipartisan system, the cabinet is made up of members of one political party and governments are more compatible, stable and long-lasting.”

Uçar also promotes an executive presidential system, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is championing.

In the indictment, Uçar compares a presidential style system to a parliamentary one, while focusing on the positives of the presidential system.

Metin Günday, professor of administrative law at Ankara University, tweeted of the indictment: “Is this an indictment? Or is it an AK Party [Justice and Development Party] election manifesto?”

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 4 October 2015, Sunday