Supreme Council to hear this case ultimately

Supreme Council to hear this case ultimately

Mehmet Y. Yılmaz
We are a society with a weak memory. Politicians make quite a good use of this feature of ours, but there is also this fact that they are also a part of this society and they also have weak memories.
Let me be the one to remind:

Former Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz and former State Minister Güneş Taner were referred to the Supreme Council in 2004 by Parliament on grounds that they “conspired to rig the Türkbank bid.” The Supreme Council is the name the Constitutional Court takes when it tries ministers and senior members of the judiciary.

The charge against Yılmaz was he interfered with the Türkbank bid to determine who will win it. It was claimed that, through this, he was “trying to form a media power loyal to himself.”

There was no acquittal at the trial at the Supreme Council; based on the general amnesty dubbed as the “Rahşan amnesty,” the judgment on them was postponed without being announced.

The majority of the Parliament’s General Assembly that sent Yılmaz and Taner to the Supreme Council were Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies.

Now, we can return to today.

In some websites on the internet, the voice recordings of phone conversations that appear to have been recorded during the graft investigation in Istanbul are being posted. Because of this is illegal tapping, I cannot convey these conversations to you here. But we can talk about the “subject.”

The topic is about the sale of the daily Sabah and ATV from the Çalık Group to a consortium of contractors. It appears the prime minister is personally involved. He has assigned one of his ministers Binali Yıldırım for this business and his son Bilal Erdoğan is involved in these talks.

So to speak, they have “raised a tax” for those contractors who have won major tenders; they were asked to put money in a “pool.” For those who did not have enough “funds,” serious loans, such as 100 million dollars each, from Halkbank and Ziraat Bank were opened.

A businessman who was asked to contribute money opposed saying, “I was not given any tender.” It was not a secret that it was the prime minister himself who was deciding which tender goes to whom; as a matter of fact, this situation is clearly comprehensible from the phone recordings. The effort to form a media power through the advantages provided in tenders is also openly visible.

A much clearer, a much heavier situation is in question here than the charge attributed to Mesut Yılmaz and Güneş Taner, who were sent to the Supreme Council with the AKP deputies’ votes.

Time will come and the deputy composition of Parliament will change. I am, of course, assuming that we live in a normal democracy and those who are elected do not declare themselves sultans.

It looks as if while the prime minister is referred to the Supreme Council, he will not be alone either

Same film over and over again

In Istanbul, the prosecutors conducting the “graft investigation,” in which cabinet ministers, sons of ministers, a general manager of a state bank and some businessmen are the accused, have been removed.

I do not want to bring the newly appointed prosecutors to the file under suspicion in advance, but this reminded me of “Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse)” again.

After the prosecutors were removed, the ones who investigated and followed up the Lighthouse robbery for years, the newly appointed prosecutor changed the “classification of offense” and opened the way for the accused to get away with lesser sentences.

I cannot say the same will happen now, but while all the evidence of the government’s interference with the judiciary are in sight, I cannot pretend to be optimistic, no offense.

In a country where cabinet ministers call chief prosecutors and intervene with the investigation saying, “Take this file from that guy, give it to somebody else,” where the police do not carry out the decisions of the office of the prosecutor and the court, we are not so naïve to not understand the intention behind this change.

As the former prosecutor of the “Lighthouse” case, Abdülvahap Yaren said, “an emperor of the thieves is obstructing the investigation; he is both protecting his men and at the same time preventing the investigations from reaching all the way to himself.”

Mehmet Y. Yılmaz is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published on Jan 30. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.