The fate of prosecutors

Ekrem Dumanli is editor in chief of the Zaman daily newspaper in Turkey.
Ekrem Dumanli is editor in chief of the Zaman daily newspaper in Turkey.

Date posted: October 28, 2014


An election was held at the Ankara Bar Association recently. Nuh Mete Yüksel, who was among the powers that be in the prosecutorial community in the past, entered while this was taking place. He was once an awe-inspiring prosecutor. Apparently, he retired from prosecuting and became a lawyer. Of course, he is now deprived of the terrifying appearance he had in those years. He no longer has the frigid countenance that would send everyone’s hearts throbbing with fear. As it happens, some lawyers started to protest harshly the “fledgling lawyer.” Moreover, the hall was filled with shouts of “Go away!” So Yüksel had to go back without casting his vote…

But as he was a former prosecutor, he didn’t give up just yet, and returned to the hall in the company of several police officers. The shouts in the hall were increased. “You are not a lawyer, but a torturer,” dozens of people were shouting. In the face of mounting reactions, Yüksel had to run away from the hall in panic and fear. You can watch the video on the Internet. He was gripped by panic and intimidation. However, he had been a “nightmare” for certain social groups until very recently. As a prosecutor, he would summon anyone to testify if he got angry with him/her, and he would launch lawsuits against groups he didn’t like.

When the prime minister of the time had roared, “Teach this lady her place,” Yüksel had personally organized a midnight raid on the house of Merve Kavakçı, a female deputy from the now-defunct Welfare Party (RP) who had entered Parliament wearing a headscarf. He was stalking Leyla Zana and several other pro-Kurdish deputies. He had brought a lawsuit against Fethullah Gülen just because this was the wish of the despots of the post-modern coup of Feb. 28, 1997 — when the Turkish military forced the RP-led coalition government out of power, citing alleged rising religious fundamentalism in the country — and he demanded Mr. Gülen’s extradition from US authorities; when they declined his demand, he had sent questions to the US authorities so that Mr. Gülen could be questioned there. He was so obsessed with vindication that he had summoned Hakan Şükür, one of the greatest players in Turkish soccer history, for testimony, just because he expressed respect for Mr. Gülen.

Can you see what happened to our prosecutor in the end? He has become a lawyer, but he cannot meddle with his colleagues and he cannot cast his vote. A specific group of lawyers reacts negatively toward him. What about other groups? Do they support him? No, this is not the case in the least. Even those lawyers who don’t fiercely shout “Go away” are angry with him. And they have every reason to flare up in anger. This is because his role in undermining the sense of justice was great as he treated many groups harshly. Although he was tasked with the duty of collecting evidence both in favor and against the suspects under law, he categorically opted for siding with the powers that be and despots.
Yüksel’s deplorable fate makes us remember those like him in the past: Nurettin Soyer, Savaş Vural, Nusret Demiral, Sabih Kanadoğlu and many more. Unfortunately, they alienated the public from justice. They assumed that the extraordinary periods they were operating under would continue forever, and their unlawful acts would go unpunished. But they were wrong.

Similar misconceptions apply to today’s prosecutors (and, of course, judges). It is sad to see that those who prefer to be prosecutors for a specific party or ideology, and not for the state, do not learn their lesson from history.

In contrast, there were also honorable prosecutors who championed freedoms and upheld both their dignity and the prestige of their profession. Even if they suffered from troubles and problems for a certain period of time, they were eventually applauded by everyone. Ferhat Sarıkaya and Sacit Kayasu were disbarred under duress from the dictatorship, but over time, this mistake was rectified and their rights were reinstated.

Ironically enough, it seems that some prosecutors (and judges) are walking in the footsteps of Yüksel. I hope this is not really the case. However, this is the impression the public has. For instance, a prosecutor, speaking to journalist Fatih Altaylı, made some hair-raising remarks. It was claimed that this prosecutor was Okan Özsoy. He didn’t refute the allegations. Referring to the Hizmet movement, this prosecutor said 500,000 people were detained during the military coup of Sept. 12, 1980 and the state might do it again. What a horrendous approach! I want to believe that prosecutor Özsoy didn’t make such a remark, or if he did, he had realized his remarks went beyond their intended purpose. Indeed, the coup of Sept. 12, 1980 was a state of insanity where human values and justice were suspended. It is hard to assume that a prosecutor does not know this plain truth. The same applies to Serdar Coşkun, a prosecutor in Ankara. The infamous “official letter” sent to certain provinces was a sheer legal scandal.

There are also media reports about other prosecutors who indulge in similar unlawful quests. I want to believe these allegations about unlawful practices and judicial militancy are nothing but rumors. Indeed, I had uncovered certain allegations regarding İsmail Uçar, a prosecutor in İstanbul. This prosecutor announced that these allegations were not true. This made me happy both for justice and on his behalf.

Prosecutors, judges, police officers and all public officials must be aware of the fact that they are servants of the state, not of a party, government, army or ideology. Whoever strays from justice under the influence of the current circumstances commits a crime. It has been our experience that legal professionals who opt for militant practices in extraordinary times are not held in high esteem in later years.


Famous poet and intellectual Necip Fazıl Kısakürek is rumored to have said: “We have made the icebergs melt with our breath. Now, the mud is everywhere.” May your soul rest in peace, Master! What you said has occurred, exactly as you described.

“False heroes” are everywhere. Those who lack any depth in knowledge or experience have created a sea of mud. There is the risk of the century-old struggle being squandered by the prodigal parvenu lot. A generation of people who are inexperienced in this struggle and who are not willing to suffer for the sake of it found themselves in a false spring and rushed to play with the sand in their first playground. They built sand castles with toy shovels and fell asleep next to their works made of sand.

This land had seen so many long-time sufferers: Mehmet Akif, Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, Eşref Edip, Osman Yüksel, Esad Efendi, Süleyman Efendi, and many more… All went through colossal suffering. They were prosecuted, arrested and were subjected to slander. But they didn’t deviate from the road of justness even an inch. They sacrificed themselves to train people, safeguard peace and promote social peace. Accordingly, they were loved by everyone. They didn’t polarize, divide, denigrate or stigmatize society. Those masters didn’t exhibit any act of rowdiness. They didn’t bully anyone.

And now?

The people who have not experienced any struggle in the name of Islam or who have not been troubled with the task of training people are acting with arrogance and seeking to serve their own personal interests. Unfortunately, their antipathetic discourse is alienating ordinary people from Islam. They adopt a selfish, arrogant and peremptory attitude toward every matter, unaware of how they are humiliating themselves and how they make this country and the values it represents a matter of global mockery.

What in the world is this low-bred, characterless rhetoric of certain papers and TV channels and certain politicians? It is of such a low caliber that it breeds hatred on a large scale. It makes people enraged en masse. Moreover, this rage does not remain restricted to certain people, but certain other figures market their ham-fisted approach as championing the “cause” of Islam, not knowing that they are actually undermining the prestige of Islam.

Yes, the icebergs have melted, but those whose pens are tainted with the mud are now wasting the gains made in a century-old cause. A small group of people are acting with a lust for governing and a craze to make everyone submit to them. now, knowing that their hands, tongues and hearts are tainted with mud. We are faced with a mentality of people who are churning out lies, believing that it is a holy war (jihad) to oppress other people.

Those who pen articles using this mud as ink and those who take a shower of mud before making an appearance on TV should stop trying, as they cannot stain the people who deflect that mud with their tears. These people should not tire themselves out in vain, as might does not make right, but right makes might. Slinging mud at people is not fair. Nor is it humanitarian or Islamic.

Source: Today's Zaman , October 27, 2014

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