Investigation secrecy lifted as Turkish government slams police for hiding corruption operation
Ankara Bar Association head Sema Aksoy said Dec. 21 in a written statement that they would file a lawsuit to suspend and cancel a new requirement that obliges those working on investigations to inform superiors. Hürriyet photoThe Turkish government has imposed a new requirement to oblige those working on investigations to inform superiors as it struggles to fight back against a corruption probe that was launched without its knowledge.
Police officers, who normally keep the details of legal investigations secret for the safety of the case, will now be forced to inform the chiefs of their units, according to a Judiciary Police Regulation amendment announced in the Official Gazette on Dec. 21.
The definition of a “judiciary police head” in the regulation, which used to refer to prosecutors, has been widened to cover the “head of the judiciary police” and “the police chief with highest rank in the administrative region.”
Therefore, police officers employed in legal investigations will report all legal developments including detentions or search warrants to high-ranking officials in charge.
After scores of suspects, including the sons of three ministers, a mayor and prominent businessmen, were detained over corruption and bribery allegation a week ago, the government criticized police officers and prosecutors for executing the investigation without informing their superiors.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said in a press conference on Dec. 18 said it must be sad for an interior minister to be the last to learn of his son’s arrest.
“Those who want to establish a parallel structure alongside the state, those who have infiltrated the state institutions ... we will come into your lairs and we will [destroy] these organizations within the state,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also said in a speech in the northern province of Ordu.
Meanwhile, prosecutors have also become bound to inform chief prosecutor about the investigations they will launch over a list of crimes including bribery, smuggling and establishment of an armed organization.
A number of jurists argued that the amendments were a “clear violation” of judicial independence, the principle of the division of powers and the investigation secrecy clause of Code of Criminal Procedure (CMK) as they “put the jurisdiction under the executive’s tutelage.”
Ankara Bar Association reacts
Ankara Bar Association head Sema Aksoy said they would file a lawsuit to suspend and cancel the execution in a written statement released on Dec. 21.
She said the amendment would result in the executive’s interference in investigations, something that violates the Constitution.
The latest changes also contradict a notice issued by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) two years ago.
According to the HSYK notice, judiciary police forces do not have the responsibility to inform any superiors or administrative offices. On the contrary, prosecutors are told to launch investigations into officers determined to be doing that.