Justice minister criticizes deputies, consul generals for ‘interfering’ with Dündar-Gül case
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AA photoTurkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has lashed out at opposition party deputies and foreign diplomats for “interfering” with the legal processes regarding the case of daily Cumhuriyet journalists Can Dündar and Erdum Gül, who are on trial on spying charges.
Bozdağ wrote on his official Twitter account March 28 that the interference by deputies from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) with the duty of the Istanbul 14th Court of Serious Crimes, which is trying Dündar and Gül, was a “crime against the judgement as well as the crime of influencing and preventing those conducting the judicial process.”
Bozdağ’s remarks came after consul generals from various countries as well as CHP and HDP deputies attended the first hearing of the case on March 25 to show solidarity with Dündar and Gül, who were released Feb. 26 upon a Constitutional Court decision after 92 days in jail.
“Making verbal or written statements to create an illegal influence on person who conducts their judicial duty or who implements order in order to make him/her give a decision against the law is a crime,” the Justice Minister said.
“Using force and threats to prevent a person from conducting their judicial duty is also a crime. Interference by CHP and HDP deputies with the duty of the Istanbul 14th Court of Serious Crimes is a crime of influencing judgement and a person who conducts judgement, as well as preventing the judicial duty of that person,” he said, adding that the legal decisions could be “criticized but nobody including the CHP and HDP deputies could put pressure on the courts and those conducting legal duty.”
“No office, body, authority or person can give an order or instruction to the courts or to the judges, nor could they give advice or suggestions. No inquiries, no meeting and no statement could be made in parliament about the function of the jurisdiction on pending cases,” Bozdağ said, as he also criticized the consul generals of foreign countries, saying their “overstepping of limits and trying to influence the Turkish judicial system by acting together is not acceptable.”
On March 26, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had severely criticized a group of diplomats who attended the trial of the two Cumhuriyet journalists on March 25.
“Yesterday [March 25] there was a hearing of a known journalist. The situation of those who attended this hearing is very important. The consuls general in Istanbul come to the courthouse. Who are you, what are you doing there?” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan once again hit out at diplomats March 28.
Journalists and foreign diplomats, including Leigh Turner, the British consul-general in Istanbul, gathered in front of the court during the hearing, and posted messages of support for the journalists on Twitter.
Dündar and Gül are charged with espionage and threatening state security in stories published in Cumhuriyet about National Intelligence Agency (MİT) trucks allegedly transporting weapons to rebel groups in Syria.