TUSKON warns against probing policemen under ‘shadow of politics’


Date posted: July 30, 2014

A large Turkish umbrella business group has called handcuffing and abusive treatment of policemen who participated in important criminal investigations as “unacceptable,” expressing deep concern over the politicized measures.

The Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) said in a statement on Tuesday that the group is closely following the developments after the July 22 raid with “concern” and said it is disturbed of a possibility that the legal proceeding will continue with a number of illegal actions under the “shadow of politics.”

More than 100 police officers, including former senior police chiefs, were detained in an operation that began with pre-dawn raids on Tuesday. The operation, which prosecutors say was launched in response to allegations of spying and illegal wiretapping, is widely believed to be an act of revenge by the government against a corruption probe that became public on Dec. 17, 2013 with the detention of dozens of people, including businessmen close to the government, senior bureaucrats and the sons of three now-former ministers.

The TUSKON said every claim of a crime should be investigated by paying significant attention to individual rights and freedoms in line with the law and that the suspects should be prosecuted through appropriate due process with evidence collected through legal means.

“We, however, believe that [authorities] failed miserably in the past week to provide equality before the law, rule of law and the independence of judiciary in the ongoing investigation,” the statement said.

Most of the police officers detained were involved in the major graft operation of Dec. 17, as well as officers who carried out the Balyoz (Sledgehammer), Ergenekon, Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) and Tawhid-Salam investigations. Tawhid-Salam is an Iran-backed terrorist organization.

The arrested officers are accused of wiretapping ministers, deputies, members of the higher judiciary, academics, lawyers, representatives of political parties, district governors, police officers, gendarmerie officers, public servants, businessmen, artists, members of associations and foundations, and journalists through fabricated documents.

Recalling recent amendments to laws that put judiciary under the government’s control, TUSKON warned against due process with illegal practises under the “shadow of politics.”

The business group said investors would only feel safe if the principle of equality before the law, rule of law and independence of judiciary are upheld in a country. They said investors consider those countries where the law doesn’t work and where politicians undertake illegal activities by exploiting state resources as “high-risk” nations.

TUSKON said while other countries are making efforts to maintain the rule of law, it is a cause of “deep concern” for the future of Turkey as courts are designed in line with the wishes and orders of politicians and that these courts issue controversial decisions that are not compatible with any national or international standards.

The business group also expressed sadness over the violence in Gaza and hoped that peace will soon be established in the region.

Source: Cihan , July 29, 2014


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