Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office summons main opposition CHP leader to testify 'by mistake'

Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office summons main opposition CHP leader to testify 'by mistake'

Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office summons main opposition CHP leader to testify by mistake

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. AA Photo

An Istanbul prosecutor has “mistakenly” invited the country’s main opposition leader to testify as a suspect in an undisclosed investigation, prompting reactions both from the main opposition and the ruling parties.

The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office on April 29 issued a written statement after the invitation was made public, saying the document was sent to the Republican People’s Party (CHP) headquarters “by mistake,” but the admission has failed to sooth cross-party reaction.

“This is a clear violation of the Constitution,” said Hüseyin Çelik, spokesperson of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). “Although the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office made a statement, this is a major gaffe and a sloppy job.”

Bülent Tezcan, deputy leader of the CHP, told the Hürriyet Daily News over the phone yesterday that the document was delivered to the party headquarters on April 28.

“When I received the document, dated April 22, I called prosecutor Mehmet Demir, whose signature was on the document,” Tezcan said. “I told him that such a move was against the law and the procedure, and asked him if he would like to retract the document. But he refused, and we started the process to send back the document.”

Kılıçdaroğlu is immune from prosecution as he is a lawmaker besides being the CHP leader.
“This is a scandal and an attempt to intimidate the opposition,” Tezcan said.  “We can easily find out who made the complaint, but he who did it should come out and say it.”

Demir, the prosecutor who sent the document, told the Daily News that the issue was “probably my fault.”

“The case is regarding a complaint by a person,” Demir said over the phone. “But this is not a violation of the Constitution. We invited him to testify, and he declined; there is no need to create a scene.”
Demir said he had no intention of resigning.

Tezcan said the reason why the prosecutor’s office was quick to release a statement on the issue yesterday was probably because they acknowledged the wrongdoing and were concerned about the public reaction.

“There is a procedure to invite lawmakers to testify; prosecutors should apply to the Justice Ministry,” Tezcan said. “This is the first time a lawmaker, moreover the country’s main opposition leader, has been called to testify as a suspect. This is unacceptable, we will complain about the prosecutor to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors [HSYK].”