Turkish prosecutor of corruption, coup cases flees to Armenia over ‘coup attempt’ arrest warrant
Burcu PURTUL UÇAR - Yüksel KOÇ / ISTANBUL
DHA photoA controversial prosecutor who led probes into alleged coup attempts has fled to Armenia with a colleague after an arrest warrant was issued regarding both judicial figures, the governor of Artvin province has announced.
The Bakırköy Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued an arrest warrant on former prosecutors Zekeriya Öz, Celal Kara and Mehmet Yüzgeç, accusing them of attempting to overthrow the government forcefully and forming a criminal organization.
Öz was dismissed as the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor on May 12 this year after being rotated to a minor judiciary position, following his launch of the country’s biggest corruption investigation on Dec. 17, 2013, in which government figures and their relatives, as well as several prominent businessmen, were implicated.
The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), Turkey’s top judicial body, had fired all three prosecutors on May 12, as well as prosecutor Muammer Akkaş and judge Süleyman Karaçöl, who also took part in the corruption investigation.
Öz, who had previously been slammed for what critics decribed as human rights violations during the trials about alleged coup plots and particularly the Ergenekon case, left Turkey together with Kara early Aug. 10, hours before arrest warrants were issued.
Daily Hürriyet has learned that Ankara contacted authorities in Georgia, where Öz and Kara initially entered, to seek their extradition.
However, an August 11 announcement by Kemal Cirit, the governor of Turkey's northeastern province of Artvin, revealed that Öz and Kara had crossed the border into Armenia.