Top judicial body approves investigation into dozens of judges, prosecutors involved in ‘irregular’ wiretapping
ANKARATurkey’s top judicial body has given the green light to prosecute dozens of prosecutors on charges of delivering thousands of irregular decisions for wiretapping people, including high profile persons.
The 3rd Chamber of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) approved a request for launching an investigation into 32 judges and 22 prosecutors who were responsible for irregular decisions of wiretapping as part of “Selam Tevhid Terrorist Organization” case.
The “Selam Tevhid” case targeted hundreds of people who had been dismissed due to a lack of evidence after a three-year investigation during which almost 2,500 people were wire-tapped.
In the summer of 2014, dozens of Turkish police officers, including high-ranking officers, were detained and accused of spying and illegally wire-tapping then-Prime Minister, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his inner circle, in what the chief prosecutor said was a concocted probe of an alleged terrorist group.
The officers were accused of making up an investigation into an alleged terrorist group named “Selam Tevhid” as a pretense to tap the phones of Erdoğan, ministers and the undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Hakan Fidan.
“They arbitrarily eavesdropped on guards, public servants, provincial branches of the AKP [Justice and Development Party], CHP [Republican People’s Party] and MHP [Nationalist Movement Party], and bureaucrats. They made up an organization called ‘Selam Tevhid.’ They eavesdropped on almost 3,000 people for three years,” President Erdoğan said in a speech delivered in March 2014.
The investigation may lead to suspension of some of these judges and prosecutors, sources said. The judges and prosecutors have been charged with making 1,348 irregular wiretapping decisions and extending these decisions 950 times, although there was no evidence of an armed organization.
“A parallel structure” inside the state reportedly eavesdropped on more than 7,000 people in relation with the Selam Tevhid case. In addition to Erdoğan’s inner circle, ministers, journalists, businesspersons, artists, bureaucrats and civil society leaders were recorded for three years starting from 2011.
HSYK inspectors have eventually finalized their examination, which began in March 2014, and asked for permission to investigate the judges and prosecutors involved.
Prosecutor Mehmet Berk, head of the match-fixing probe, and a former specially-authorized prosecutor, Sadrettin Sarıkaya, who acted to detain MİT chief Fidan on Feb. 7, 2012, but was removed from the probe shortly after, in addition to prosecutors Muammer Akkaş and Celal Kara, who were earlier dismissed by the HSYK due to their roles in the Dec. 2013 graft investigations that targeted four former ministers and their sons, are among those 54 judicial officers.
Within the framework of the permission given by the 3rd Chamber, the judges and prosecutors are required to present their defenses. After this process, the 2nd Chamber of the HSYK will decide whether to deliver related discipline sentences, which may include suspension.