Turkish interior minister calls graft probe prosecutor Öz to resign over criminal complaint
Zekeriya Öz comes out of the Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office after filing his complaint, Aug. 6. AA PhotoA row between the government and pro-Gülenists judiciary members is deepening as prominent prosecutor Zekeriya Öz has filed a criminal complaint against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Interior Minister Efkan Ala.
The criminal complaint was filed over the ongoing investigation against the police officers who carried out a corruption probe engulfing Erdoğan and his ministers.
“Those who cannot handle their titles should immediately leave their positions before we act for it. One is [working for] the state and then threatens Turkey’s prime minister and interior minister; no one can do it,” Ala told reporters on Aug. 6. Ala hinted that necessary measures would be taken against Öz.
Öz is one of the most well-known prosecutors to carry out the massive Ergenekon prosecution in the previous years when the government was on good terms with the Fethullah Gülen community, which Erdoğan claims is the “parallel state trying to topple the government.” Öz is believed to be a pro-Gülenist judiciary member. The government is pressing the Supreme Judges and Prosecutors Board (HSYK) to mobilize against judiciary members violating laws. The inaction of the HSYK is regarded as another defense from the Gülenists inside the board by the government.
Öz filed a criminal complaint after a few dozen police officers were arrested as part of an ongoing investigation on the parallel state with rumors that the campaign will be expanded to the judiciary in coming days. Öz in a written statement criticized the government for intimidating members of the judiciary through baseless statements and media stories, although procedures for investigating members of the justice branch were clear. “No one has the freedom to commit a crime. No one can put judges and prosecutors under pressure,” he said.
Ala responded to Öz’s criticisms immediately after the issuance of the criminal complaints, saying “Those who think they can rule the country as a gang will pay the price for it. Everybody will do their own job.”