Two additional prosecutors appointed to corruption probe in Turkey
Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin has denied claims that there was an ongoing move to dismiss the prosecutors of the case. DHA photoThe Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has announced that two additional prosecutors had been appointed to the massive and far-reaching corruption investigation, raising the number of prosecutors working in the case to four.
The office of chief prosecutor Turan Çolakkadı released a statement, saying two new prosecutors, whose names were not disclosed, had been appointed to work alongside Istanbul public prosecutors Celal Kara and Mehmet Yüzgeç, two prosecutors already looking into the probe.
“Considering the scope of the investigation, the numerous suspects, the necessity of ending the suspects’ procedures within the legal detention period and for the quick collection of evidence, as well as an immediate completion of the probe, two more public prosecutors have been appointed as has been done in previous, comprehensive cases,” a written statement released by the chief prosecutor’s office said.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) had ruled out the claims that Zekeriya Öz, the Istanbul deputy chief prosecutor who was supervising the prosecutors, was removed from his duty.
Turkey's justice minister rules out dismissal of prosecutors in alleged corruption case
Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin has dismissed main opposition claims and online rumors that the prosecutors who launched one of Turkey's biggest-ever tender fraud and bribery operations on Dec. 17 would be removed from their duties.
Rumors claiming that the prosecutors looking into the case, Istanbul public prosecutors Celal Kara and Mehmet Yüzgeç, had been removed from the case spread through social networks in the evening hours of Dec. 17.
When asked whether there was an ongoing move to dismiss the prosecutors of the case, Ergin denied the claims.
Ergin told the Hürriyet Daily News that his ministry had not intervened into the probe and that no extraordinary meeting of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) was expected for the morning of Dec. 18.
He also denied media reports claiming he was aborting campaigning in Hatay, where he was recently named as the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) mayoral candidate, to return to Ankara for an urgent HSYK meeting.
"It's all false news," he said, adding that he returned to Ankara to join a meeting of his party scheduled at 11 a.m. by AKP deputy head Hüseyin Çelik.
In line with the online rumors, main opposition Republican People’s Party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu expressed his concerns over the possible dismissal of the prosecutors who launched the corruption operation, given that a similar fate befell the prosecutors of the Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) charity case.
"I hope these prosecutors [looking into the recent corruption case] won't experience the same things as happened to the Deniz Feneri prosecutors," Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that his party was following the developments “very closely.”
Three prosecutors were removed from a probe into the Deniz Feneri charity in August 2011 on the grounds that they had allegedly falsified documents used in the probe and abused their office. They were later acquitted in November 2012.