PM Erdoğan sues controversial prosecutor
Zekeriya Öz is the former Istanbul deputy chief prosecutor who had supervised prosecutors in the investigation into corruption claims involving the government on Dec. 17, 2013.Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed separate complaints to both the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office and to Turkey’s top judicial body against Prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, on charges of “insult, slandering and threatening.”
A lawyer for the prime minister cited messages posted by Öz on his Twitter account as the basis for his client’s complaints, Anadolu Agency reported on July 22.
Öz posted messages on his Twitter account on July 16 including threats and insults towards the prime minister, lawyer Ali Özkaya stated in his petition filed to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office and to the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).
“When you look at news reports in newspapers and other Internet sites concerning those statements [regarding Öz’s messages on social media], it is obvious that the prosecutor was referring to Mr. Prime Minister,” Özkaya said.
Reports of the complaints came on the same day that dozens of police, including high-ranking officers, were detained on accusations of spying and illegally wire-tapping Erdoğan and his inner circle, in what the chief prosecutor said was a “concocted probe of an alleged terrorist group.”
Öz is the former Istanbul deputy chief prosecutor who had supervised prosecutors in the investigation into corruption claims involving the government on Dec. 17, 2013. He was also the lead prosecutor at the beginning of the controversial Ergenekon coup plot case.
Shortly after the eruption of the Dec. 17 investigation, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) responded with waves of purges in the police department, judiciary and other state departments, with the AKP alleging that a “parallel state” orchestrated the probes in order to damage the government.
As part of these purges, Öz was assigned to the Bolu Prosecutor’s Office in February, shortly after being assigned to the Bakırköy district of Istanbul.
Öz is alleged to have installed a special camera system at his office in the Istanbul Courthouse, with which he is accused of secretly recording meetings.
In early June, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ took the initiative of launching an investigation into Öz and three judges who issued court orders for the arrest and freezing of assets of graft probe suspects in the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 investigations. Bozdağ therefore overruled the country’s top judicial body, which had dismissed the need for such an investigation. The justice minister has the legal authority to overrule such decisions by the HSYK.