Iftar dinner like a military briefing of Feb. 28

Iftar dinner like a military briefing of Feb. 28

The Justice Ministry’s undersecretary Kenan İpek gave an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner in Istanbul. Members of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), its secretary general, Istanbul’s chief prosecutor and almost 1,000 judges and prosecutors who are stationed in Istanbul attended.

In the speech he delivered at the banquet, İpek said, “It has not been forgotten that there were members of the judiciary who rushed to the military briefings during the Feb. 28 [1982] era.” However, when the rest of his speech is read, it could then be understood that what he is doing is no different than what the military did then.

I read İpek’s speech in the paper. There is a part in it as such: “A chapter of an unfinished attempt has been added to the history of coups. We all know what was experienced in the Dec. 17 and 25 [2013] processes have nothing to do with the claims made. The mentality that wore down late Menderes and his ministers in the eyes of the public by accusing them of corruption has come back once more; and has tied our country down by stepping in during critical processes.”

Some of the prosecutors who attended the dinner are conducting the Dec. 17 and 25 investigations İpek mentioned. If they manage to write the indictment, the case opened will again arrive in front of some of the judges who were at the dinner.  

What difference does this have from the briefings given by the military to judges and prosecutors during the Feb. 28 era? 

Mr. Undersecretary has concluded that the graft investigations were “coup attempts,” organized an audience of judges and prosecutors on the pretext of an iftar and is explaining to them how they should think for this particular case!

How are we going to be sure that a truly fair investigation and a truly fair trial will be held in such an environment?

As a matter of fact, he is the person who was disclosed while pressuring the prosecutor to obstruct corruption investigations. It was in the records that he gave instructions on the phone to the Chief Prosecutor Hüseyin Baş to stop the corruption investigation in İzmir. Those prosecutors and judges who were present in that dinner all know, as we all know, what happened to that particular prosecutor.

If it is not intimidating the judges and prosecutors, then what is, when a bureaucrat, who is a part of the government’s operation to enchain the judiciary to it, gathers judges and prosecutors before him and delivers such lectures during an ongoing investigation?  

Not easy to stomach

Former Cabinet minister Zafer Çağlayan, who is involved in the corruption claims, was out having dinner at a restaurant in Ankara’s Çayyolu with his family. A group of young people on the table next to them asked him, “What time is it?” Tension erupted over this and other customers intervened and calmed both sides down, leaving an apparently very nervous Çağlayan.

My advice to Çağlayan is that he should get used to such things and not get angry because – no doubt on this – he will have to live with these jokes for the rest of his life.

He should have thought about not accepting the ultra-expensive watch in time if he cared about not having to get angry at such things now.

Accepting a 700,000 Turkish Lira watch from Reza Zarrab and then getting angry at those who ask him what time it is, this absolutely is not a reasonable stance!

Çağlayan waved a paper from the speaker’s stand at the Parliament, claiming he had paid for the watch and the guarantee warrant was on his name. It was later understood the paper he was waving was not a document proving he paid for the watch.

You cannot prove you have paid for the watch and at the same time you are getting angry. Dear Zafer Çağlayan, get used to it. You will hear a lot of these “What time is it?” questions…