Top judicial body dismisses 49 officials in hasty decision
ANKARAIn a rapidly reached conclusion, Turkey’s top judicial body has decided to dismiss 49 judges and prosecutors on charges of delivering thousands of irregular decisions in favor of wiretapping individual targets.
The July 14 decision by the 2nd Chamber of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) was issued just days after the 3rd Chamber of the HSYK approved a request to launch an investigation into 32 judges and 22 prosecutors responsible for irregular wiretapping decisions in the “Selam Tevhid Terrorist Organization” case.
Of those 54 judicial officials, the 2nd Chamber decided to dismiss 49 of them.
“Our claim to be a state governed by the rule of law has been damaged by illegal wiretappings. It would be appropriate for those who did this and those who got this done are condemned for generations,” said Mehmet Yılmaz, the president of the 2nd Chamber of the HSYK, speaking after the decision was released.
“The shame of illegal wiretapping must now drop from agenda. Nobody should be subject to unlawful wiretapping,” Yılmaz added.
The “Selam Tevhid” case targeted hundreds of people who had been dismissed due to a lack of evidence after a three-year investigation during which almost 2,500 people were wire-tapped.
In the summer of 2014, dozens of Turkish police officers, including high-ranking officers, were detained and accused of spying and illegally wire-tapping then-Prime Minister, now-President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as his inner circle, as part of what the chief prosecutor said was a “concocted probe” into an alleged terrorist group.
The officers were accused of “concocting” an investigation into an alleged terrorist group named “Selam Tevhid” as a pretense to tap the phones of Erdoğan, ministers, and National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Chief Hakan Fidan.
“They arbitrarily eavesdropped on guards, public servants, provincial branches of the AKP [Justice and Development Party], the CHP [Republican People’s Party], the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party], and bureaucrats. They made up an organization called ‘Selam Tevhid.’ They eavesdropped on almost 3,000 people over three years,” President Erdoğan said in a speech delivered in March 2014.
It was later reported that a “parallel structure” inside the state eavesdropped on more than 7,000 people in relation to the Selam Tevhid case. In addition to Erdoğan’s inner circle, ministers, journalists, businesspersons, artists, bureaucrats and civil society leaders were recorded for three years, starting from 2011.
The dismissed judges and prosecutors are accused of making 1,348 irregular wiretapping decisions and extending these decisions 950 times, although there was no evidence of an armed organization.