Fear of political power takes Turkey’s prosecutors in his grip

In a new development, which adds to the suspicions that Turkey once more enters a new era of impunity, Süleyman Taşbaş, head of the Justice and Law Association, has claimed that several prosecutors in İstanbul refused to accept a criminal complaint submitted by lawyers and law associations against several politicians, including the prime minister.

On Wednesday, Taşbaş said they had to go to quite a few prosecutors to have their complaint accepted.

“When the [first] prosecutor saw the names mentioned in the criminal complaint, he said the issue did not fall within the scope of his authority and refused to accept the complaint. Then we went to another prosecutor. He did not accept the complaint, either. Then we went to a prosecutor who deals with particular types of crimes and our complaint was again rejected. Next, we went to a deputy chief public prosecutor and he refused to accept the complaint, too. Finally, another prosecutor agreed to accept the complaint after we were very persistent,” the lawyer stated.

The complaint accuses the prime minister of maliciously trying to distort public perceptions about charges of corruption and bribery that have implicated members of his government and of tampering with evidence concerning the current investigation of those charges.

The government has reassigned police officers and prosecutors who were involved in the investigation of corruption and bribery in an effort to prevent the scandal from deepening. A second investigation, rumored to be even more serious for the government due to the involvement of Erdoğan and his children, is alleged to have been stifled in a blitzkrieg operation by the government, in which key police officers were replaced overnight and regulations introduced to cripple the investigative process.

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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