October 7, 2015

Prosecutor presents allegations as facts, commits crime

Prosecutor İsmail Uçar has used slanderous language in a recent indictment targeting Turkey's largest-ever corruption investigations, referring to the defendants as traitors, and accusing them of treason and involvement in a “parallel structure,” though he failed to provide any evidence.

“Parallel structure” is a derogatory term devised by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his associates in the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to vilify members of the faith-based Hizmet movement, also known as the Gülen movement, as a threat to national security. The term is used 149 times throughout the indictment, though it lacks any legal definition.

For example, Uçar states on page 290 of the indictment, “As a citizen of the Republic of Turkey, one has no safeguard against this parallel structure.” On page 179 he accuses the movement of “forming a parallel structure within the state and managing this structure with directives from across the ocean…” in an oblique reference to prominent Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who currently resides in the US in self-imposed exile.

Uçar uses the term “traitor” five times to refer to the defendants, who include Gülen and former police chiefs Yakup Saygılı and Kazım Aksoy, without putting forth a shred of evidence of treason, in clear violation of their rights.

According to Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), “Anyone who undermining the honor, dignity or respectability of another person or who attacks a person's honor by attributing to them a concrete act or a fact, or by means of an insult shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three months to two years, or punished with a judicial fine.”

Uçar also uses the word “treason” 14 times in the indictment, without offering any evidence regarding how the actions of the defendants might have constituted the crime.

Likewise, the term “co-conspirator” is used by the prosecutor four times in the document and “terror” is used 295 times, though the case supposedly pertains to an alleged coup attempt.

Article 266 of the TCK states, “Any person who casts aspersions on another person by raising complaint or notifying authorized bodies … is punished with imprisonment from one year to four years.”

Erdoğan and the AK Party launched a self-declared war against the Hizmet movement, which is inspired by the ideas of Gülen, after corruption probes went public on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013, incriminating senior members of the government, the sons of three now-former ministers and members of Erdoğan's family. Erdoğan claims the Hizmet movement was behind the probe and attempted to overthrow his government. The movement has denied the allegations.

By accusing the police chiefs who launched the graft probes of attempting to usurp the AK Party, Uçar seeks to turn Turkey's largest-ever graft scandals into an “anti-coup” investigation.

His indictment has been in the spotlight recently, facing ridicule from opposition lawmakers and legal experts for its abundant usage of fables, myths and even characters from a J.R.R. Tolkien bestseller. It refers to the beginning of mankind with the story of Adam, and continues on to explain the story of Cain and Abel, who, according to the Book of Genesis, are the 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.” Uçar then fast forwards several thousand years to include the Lydians and Phrygians, both ancient societies who lived in western Anatolia, as well as the Roman Empire. He even includes the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks, maintaining that the event provoked a pervasive hatred of Turkey in the West, and that “foreign powers” are keeping the notion of a revival of the Byzantine Empire alive.

The prosecutor also includes entire reports from staunchly pro-government dailies to bolster his argument. One article in particular, published in the Sabah daily in 2012, refers to Smeagol, a character from Tolkien's “The Hobbit” and the “Lord of the Rings” series, stating: “Those who try to steal roles from [then-Prime Minister Erdoğan], like Smeagol tries to steal the ring from Frodo, have always faced defeat. Let us see who the winner of the last war, Armageddon, will be.”

Uçar's actions constitute a violation of the right to a free trial enshrined in the Constitution and in international treaties to which Turkey is a party, such as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Article 6 of the ECHR states, “In the determination of his civil rights and obligations … everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.”

Published on Today's Zaman, 7 October 2015, Wednesday