Prosecutors seek PM’s assent to question MİT officials

Prosecutors seek PM’s assent to question MİT officials

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Prosecutors seek PM’s assent to question MİT officials

PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L), President Abdullah Gül (C) and MİT chief Hakan Fidan are seen in this file photo. Erdoğan is expected to reject the prosecution’s request. AA photo

Prosecutors have asked Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for permission to question the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief and four others as part of a probe into Kurdish militants.

This procedural move is required following the enactment of a new law by the ruling party to shield MİT.
“If you read the law [concerning MİT], everything is very clear,” Erdoğan said in his brief statement concerning the prosecutors’ request.

Erdoğan has 60 days to make a decision, but he will almost certainly reject the request in light of the crisis that unfolded last month and fuelled speculation of a power struggle between the government and elements within the police and judiciary.

The probe request includes MİT chief Hakan Fidan, his predecessor Emre Taner, former MİT deputy chief Afet Güneş and two other agency officials. Prosecutors suspect MİT colluded with the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and its operatives engaged in violence. The probe made the government alarmed that it might also be implicated since the officials summoned for questioning have all been involved in talks with the PKK, held on Erdoğan’s personal instructions.

Asked about the request yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said: “The thing to be done is very simple. The prime minister will evaluate the request and do what is necessary.”

The deputy group chair of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Mustafa Elitaş, said it was “quite meaningful that our most prominent intelligence organization, which is grappling with the scourge of terrorism, is being pursued in such a way.”

CHP leader cries foul

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), claimed that an “operation” was underway at the Council of State to ensure any appeals of the prime minister’s decision on the prosecutor’s request were rejected. Speaking on Sky Türk television late March 8, Kılıçdaroğlu claimed three members of the court’s First Chamber, which would handle any possible appeals, had been removed and replaced with others this week.

The CHP leader argued Erdoğan was scared the probe could eventually reach him over the talks with the PKK, which were leaked to the media last September. “I would not have allowed such negotiations. Any politician in the world would have resigned if talks with a terrorist organization became publicly known. Such contacts must be secret. If you get involved in such a process as a prime minister, you enter into an illegal process,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The CHP’s Muharrem İnce claimed the prosecutor would be removed from the probe if he insisted on questioning the MİT officials. “It’s obvious that the prime minister will deny permission. The prosecutor can, however, appeal to the Council of State. If he insists on the issue, he’d better choose a new office for himself,” İnce said.

The MİT officials were summoned for questioning in an unprecedented move last month, prompting the AKP to rush an amendment to the MİT Act through Parliament. Under the changes, the prime minister’s permission is required to investigate MİT members as well as “public officials the prime minister assigns to specific tasks” for crimes that arise from the nature of their duties or they commit while on duty, or for offenses handled by special-authority courts. The CHP has asked the Constitutional Court to scrap the amendment. The prosecutor who issued the summonses has since been removed from the probe.

Turkey, Ankara,