Graft probe prosecutors and judge to be put on trial

Graft probe prosecutors and judge to be put on trial

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Graft probe prosecutors and judge to be put on trial

Prosecutor Muammer Akkaş

Turkey’s highest judicial board has opened the way for the trial of two prosecutors and one judge responsible for the massive corruption probe of December 2013.

The 2nd Chamber of the Supreme Judges and Prosecutors Board (HSYK) gave permission for the trial of prosecutors Celal Kara and Muammer Akkaş and judge Süleyman Karaçöl.

HSYK 2nd Board Head Mehmet Yılmaz told Anadolu Agency that they will take the last defenses of the three individuals, who were all involved in the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013 graft probes, before making its decision on whether to give any disciplinary punishment.

Yılmaz said the board allowed the prosecution of Kara on the grounds that he had seized a wealth of legal entities without conducting sufficient research and investigation, and also for recording phone calls between former Interior Minister Muammer Güler and his son Barış Güler, as well as between businessman Reza Zarrab and his wife Ebru Gündeş, without deleting them.

The probe against prosecutor Akkaş has been allowed on allegations that he “violated the privacy of the prosecution and made decisions without sufficient examination.”

Judge Karaçöl can be tried as he decided on the seizure of suspects’ wealth in the Dec. 25, 2013 probe, based on Article 128 of the Turkish Penal code. Judge Karaçöl is temporarily suspended from his post until the trial against him is finalized.

Businessmen, bureaucrats and four cabinet members were involved in the probe as suspects. The four ministers, Egemen Bağış, Erdoğan Bayraktar, Zafer Çağlayan, and Muammer Güler, resigned from their posts a few months after the incident and were acquitted in a historic vote in the Turkish parliament over corruption claims that emerged as part of the Dec. 17 probe.

The board had previously suspended four prosecutors who were involved in the now-dropped graft investigations in December 2013 pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation.

Ruling that Zekeriya Öz, Celal Kara, Muammer Akkaş and Mehmet Yüzgeç remaining in office would “harm the clout and reputation of the judiciary,” the board decided on Dec. 30, 2014, to suspend the four prosecutors.

In May 2014, the 3rd Chamber of the HSYK gave the green light for the prosecution of Öz, Kara, Akkaş and Yüzgeç.

Subsequently, the decision to open an investigation obtained the final approval of Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ. At the time, the third chamber also asked for the suspension of the four from their duties pending the outcome of the investigation.