Court summons CHP deputy to testify after request from Saudi businessman al-Qadi
Dinçer Gökçe ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
The summons to CHP Istanbul deputy Aykut Erdoğdu was related to an article he wrote about al-Qadi for daily newspaper BirGün, and came despite his parliamentary immunity.A Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker has been summoned by a Turkish court, following a complaint filed by Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi, a controversial figure who is known for his closeness to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and who is accused of financing al-Qaeda. Al-Qadi’s name was also included in the list of suspects in the Dec. 25 corruption probe.
The summons to CHP Istanbul deputy Aykut Erdoğdu was related to an article he wrote about al-Qadi for daily newspaper BirGün, and came despite his parliamentary immunity. It was sent by the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office to the Police Department on June 20, and authorized officials to force Erdoğdu to testify if he did not do so within seven days.
Sources from the prosecution contacted by Hürriyet said they were not aware that Erdoğdu was a lawmaker, and thus covered by parliamentary legal immunity, and would “correct” the summoning. “There are 550 lawmakers at Parliament and it is impossible to know all their names. Usually we know the names of the party heads or parliamentary group deputy heads, but we don’t know all the lawmakers’ names,” a source from the prosecution said.
The fresh summoning incident comes two months after CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was also called to testify as a suspect by the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office at the end of April, in a move that was subsequently admitted to be “mistaken.” It was later revealed that the lawsuit against Kılıçdaroğlu had been opened by Prime Minister Erdoğan’s son, Bilal Erdoğan.
Erdoğdu to apply to judicial body
For his part, Erdoğdu has accused the prosecutors of committing an abuse of office, adding that he would file a complaint to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, which is the main judicial body overseeing disciplinary matters.
“The decision of the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office, which did nothing against Yasin al-Qadi when he faced corruption allegations, to force me to testify without conducting any research on me shows the situation to which the judiciary has come,” Erdoğdu told Hürriyet, rejecting the possibility that the prosecutors were not aware that he was a lawmaker.
“It is not possible for the prosecution not to know that. It is not possible to issue a decision to force someone who has parliamentary immunity to testify. This decision is nothing other than an attempt to intimidate our efforts to fight against corruption,” he said.