Huge rift within law enforcement prevents a new corruption operation

The graft probe involving four ministers of the AKP led to such measures that a row between the new police chief of Istanbul and prosecutors prevented another operation on corruption, which allegedly involves Prime Minister’s son, Bilal Erdoğan, daily Today’s Zaman reported:
The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has ordered the detention of 30 suspects, including a number of deputies and businessmen. The İstanbul Police Department, which saw an extensive purge of its top officers over the last week, has not complied with the order, however.

Early media reports claimed that the investigation concerns al-Qaeda operations in Turkey as well as business deals in which deputies and public officials are involved.

Akkaş gave the order to detain the suspects to the İstanbul police in the afternoon. The police, however, did not immediately comply; the İstanbul Police Department did not assign a team to carry out the mission. Later that day all the department’s police chiefs were summoned to a meeting at the department’s headquarters.

In an overnight change to police procedure for judicial investigations last week, the government stifled prosecutorial independence by requiring police officers to report to their superiors in all investigations. In the current probe into corruption and bribery, that would have forced the police to inform the interior minister that they were investigating his son.

The government has also removed or reassigned hundreds of police officers involved in the investigation.

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the police officers who refused to carry out the detention orders. Turkish media have reported that the probe involves allegations against İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, Selami Altınok and the chief of the financial crimes unit, Hakan Sıralı, of insubordination, violation of the confidentiality of an investigation and aiding and abetting a criminal.

Last week the prosecution summoned the chief of the İstanbul Police Department’s intelligence unit, Ahmet Arıbaş, to testify about allegations that he had leaked documents about the corruption investigation. The department’s newly appointed head Selami Altınok, however, turned down the court’s request and declined to send the officer.

Around $100 billion in bribes are said to be involved in the case.

Soon after the story surfaced, Turkish media outlets claiming to have sources close to the case said that the following people were named in the detention order: Yasin al-Qadi, listed as a terrorist by the UN; Üsame Kutup; Orhan Cemal Kalyoncu; Turkish State Railways (TCDD) General Director Süleyman Karaman; İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality Secretary-General Adem Baştürk; the prime minister’s son, Bilal Erdoğan; as well as businessmen Mustafa Latif Topbaş, Abdullah Tivnikli and Cengiz Aktürk. None of these names had been confirmed at press time.


About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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