Defendants to remain under arrest in Syria-bound intelligence trucks case
MERSİN – Doğan News Agency
CİHAN PhotoA Mersin court has ruled that four prosecutors and a former army colonel will remain under arrest in a case filed over the stopping of Syria-bound intelligence trucks, after the defendants’ attorneys left the court session when the judge refused their demand that the court hear the five defendants’ testimonies.
The session, held in the Tarsus 2nd Court of Serious Crimes in the Mediterranean province of Mersin, ended with the judge ruling to keep the five defendants under arrest, after the attorneys said the ruling was unlawful and left the court in protest.
The session was held in compliance with the Turkish Criminal Court (TCK) in order to decide whether the defendants, former Adana Chief Public Prosecutor Süleyman Bağrıyanık, prosecutors Aziz Takçı, Özcan Şişman, Ahmet Karaca, and the former Adana Gendarmerie Commander Özkan Çokay, would remain under arrest during the investigation, launched after several trucks of MİT (National Intelligence Organization) were stopped in the southern province of Hatay on Jan. 1, 2014 and in the southern province of Adana on Jan. 19 of the same year.
Attorneys Aziz Erbek, İsmail Ülken, Alp Değer Tanrıverdi, Ozan Varol, Mustafa Kökten and Tolga Kaan Pataz demanded in the June 9 session that the defendants’ be allowed to testify in court. They left the court hall, leaving their defendants without representation, after the judge rejected their request. The court then ruled for the five to remain under arrest and closed the session.
Following the court session, Erbek said the court session should have been properly held according to law. “Defendants should personally appear in court to plea, according to law, or otherwise they should testify via SEGBİS, a video testifying system. The court, however, has violated the law,” he said.
A crisis erupted in 2014 after MİT trucks bound for Syria were stopped and searched by Turkish authorities on Jan. 1, 2014 in Hatay. Another group of trucks was searched by the gendarmerie in Adana on Jan. 19.
In the subsequent investigation into the searches, top security personnel have been detained and accused of attempting to overthrow the government.
The government has severely criticized the prosecutors and soldiers involved in the operations, arguing that both the truck and its personnel were protected by the MİT’s legal immunity.