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Deputy chief prosecutor Seçen says the investigation targets officials who went beyond the tasks they had been given.

Deputy chief prosecutor Seçen says the investigation targets officials who went beyond the tasks they had been given.

Istanbul’s deputy chief prosecutor said yesterday the probe into the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) targeted only individuals and not political authorities, as the government pondered ways of overcoming one of its worst difficulties.

Suggestions the investigation was implicating the government as a whole over its policies on the Kurdish problem were baseless, Fikret Seçen said in a written statement.

“Any investigation into the options and policies that the government has determined with the aim of ending terror is out of the question,” he said.

“The probe was launched after evidence was obtained arising suspicion that some state officials went beyond the tasks they had been given by the government and thus helped the organization to carry out its acts,” he said, and the investigation targeted “only the acts of those officials.” 

An Istanbul prosecutor dropped a bombshell last week when he summoned MİT Chief Hakan Fidan, a close confidant of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his predecessor Emre Taner, former deputy Afet Güneş and two MİT employees for questioning in a probe into the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

All five had been involved in talks with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and his militants. None of them showed up at the prosecutor’s office, prompting an order for Fidan to testify in Ankara and arrest warrants for the other four. In response, the prosecutor and senior police officers were removed from the investigation.

Former Kurdish lawmaker Zübeyir Aydar, who was on the PKK team in talks with MİT, pointed at a power struggle between the ruling party and the Islamic community of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. “It seems the community is being purged from the police. In response, the police are stealing documents from the MİT archive and leaking them,” he said on Sterk TV.

Ergin wants broader changes

Erdoğan, discharged from the hospital after a second surgery, met yesterday with Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin at his home in Istanbul where he was recovering. Ergin visited Erdoğan after announcing plans for broader amendments that would shield both civilian and military officials against investigations by specially authorized prosecutors. 

The government is considering legal amendments that would require prosecutors to get the prime minister’s permission to investigate senior civilian and military figures, not only MİT employees, Ergin told the daily Hürriyet.

The amendments to Articles 250 and 251 of the Criminal Procedures Law are expected to be added to a package of judicial reforms, expected to be taken up at Parliament’s Justice Commission tomorrow, Ergin told Hürriyet.

“Investigations into very high-level officials – both civilian and military – who serve at critical state posts should depend on the written permission of the prime minister,” Ergin said. Those posts should be explicitly mentioned in the bill because “a general description may lead to confusion on the ground,” he added.

The minister explained that a first amendment, which proposed changes only to the MİT Act, was submitted to Parliament last week “out of urgency” but ensuing discussions established “changing the Criminal Procedures Law is the solution.”

When making his decision, the prime minister would “use his discretion on whether the probe would serve state and public benefit rather than making a legal assessment,” Ergin said, adding the decisions would be open to appeal.

February/14/2012

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