Top judicial body approves investigation into three prosecutors and judge conducting graft probes
Prosecutor Zekeriya Öz who was supervising the graft investigation was relocated to the Bolu. DHA PhotoTurkey’s top judicial body has given the green light for the prosecution of three prosecutors and a judge who have issued court orders for the arrest and freezing of assets of graft suspects as part of the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 investigations.
The request to start an investigation into prosecutors Zekeriya Öz, Celal Kara and Muammer Akkaş along with Judge Süleyman Karaçöl were approved by the third chamber of the Supreme Judges and Prosecutors Board (HSYK) on May 2. The decision to open an investigation only awaits the final approval of Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, according to the new procedures introduced by a new and controversial judicial law.
The initial examination on the three prosecutors and the judge had also been launched with Bozdağ’s consent.
All four had been removed from their positions following the mass purges within the judiciary orchestrated by the government as a response to the graft investigations.
Kara was the prosecutor who conducted the Dec. 17 investigation leading to the police raids during which top figures, including the sons of three ex-ministers and the ex-manager of the state-run Halkbank were detained. The Dec. 25 investigation carried out by Akkaş was aborted after the prosecutor was dismissed and replaced soon after ordering the arrest of 41 suspects that also included several top businessmen. The Turkish prime minister’s son, Bilal Erdoğan, was also prosecuted as part of this second investigation.
The new controversial prosecution comes as a new prosecutor in charge of the Dec. 17 investigation dropped the case against 60 people, including the son of the ex-Environment Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar and business tycoon Ali Ağaoğlu.
The government has repeatedly denied all accusations of the graft, blaming the probes on the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen whose movement is known to have many followers within the judiciary and the police.
The mass purges that were subsequently launched were interpreted as an attempt to purge members of Gülen’s movement from the administration.