CHP leader to follow Deniz Feneri hearing

CHP leader to follow Deniz Feneri hearing

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP leader to follow Deniz Feneri hearing

The three prosecutors, Nadi Türkaslan, Abdülvahap Yaren and Mehmet Tamöz (from left to right) were abruptly removed from the Deniz Feneri investigation in August 2011 on the grounds that they had misled authorities. Hürriyet photo

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is set to attend today’s hearing at the Supreme Court of Appeals, in which three prosecutors who were removed from the embezzlement probe into the Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) charity are being tried. The CHP has been following the ongoing case closely, in an effort to lend support to the prosecutors.

An investigation into the Deniz Feneri charity was launched after a Frankfurt court in 2008 convicted three managers of the Deniz Feneri e.V. charity in Germany of embezzling 40 million euros. Most of the money is believed to have ended up in Turkey in the coffers of the pro-government Kanal 7 television channel and a business group whose owners are close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Abrubtly removed from case

The three prosecutors were abruptly removed from the Deniz Feneri investigation in August 2011 on the grounds that they had misled the authorities into seizing assets belonging to companies in which the suspects were shareholders, even though a court had rejected the measure. The court had granted the prosecution permission to seize only the personal assets of the suspects, but the prosecutors allegedly tampered with the papers, blacking out the rejection of their second request. The prosecutors have rejected any wrongdoing. Since then, six high-profile suspects arrested in the probe have been released, among them former head of the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) and AKP member Zahid Akman.

Afterwards, a probe into three prosecutors was launched after Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) gave the green light to the prosecution in Sept. 2011. The indictment seeks a sentence of up to 11 years in prison for one of the accused prosecutors, Nadi Türkaslan, on charges of forgery of official documents and abuse of office. A prison sentence of up to three years is being sought for the other two, Abdulvahap Yaren and Mehmet Tamöz, for abuse of office. It also demands that all three be banned from practicing their profession.

The CHP has been following the case closely, and accuses the AKP of attempting to cover up the fraud. In October last year, the CHP submitted a censure motion against Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, accusing him of leaking information of an impending police search of Deniz Feneri suspects with the help of his bodyguard and Kırıkkale Mayor back in 2009, when he was interior minister. Kılıçdaroğlu vowed at the time that they would continue to follow the Deniz Feneri case, despite the government’s efforts to dilute it through political interventions.The latest European Union progress report on Turkey cites the Deniz Feneri case as an example of executive pressure on the judiciary.