Erdoğan gov’t signals change to allow re-trial of officers


Date posted: December 29, 2013

 ANKARA
Members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) have signaled that the government may propose an amendment to the law to allow the re-trial of military officers who were convicted of plotting a military coup against the government.

Speaking in his hometown of Yozgat, newly appointed Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said: “There may be some wrongdoings with regard to the law. This happened yesterday and it is happening today. [The wrongdoings] happened to some in the past, and today [they] are being done to others. Tomorrow they can happen to yet another [group].”

“What we need to do is to stand together against wrongs and acts that may be in violation of the Constitution and the law,” he added.

The AK Party’s parliamentary group deputy chairman, Mustafa Elitaş, speaking to the Hürriyet daily, said the government could change the law to allow the re-trial of hundreds of military officers.

Both comments have come after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s senior political adviser Yalçın Akdoğan wrote in an op-ed piece that convicted officers had been framed by groups within the judiciary.

He suggested that the same group is now allegedly orchestrating a widespread corruption probe against the government.

At public rallies, Erdoğan has been floating a claim that a gang within the state is attacking his government in the name of corruption. He claimed he has evidence with regard to this group and wanted to expose this evidence soon.

Erdoğan has not offered any evidence so far indicating that such a group acting in violation of the law operates within the judiciary or police force. His government, however, has engaged in the summary dismissal of senior police chiefs, some 150 of them so far, who are involved in the investigation as ordered by prosecutors. The government also replaced some 1,000 police officers in a mass purge of the İstanbul Police Department.

The gang is a veiled reference to people close to the Hizmet (Gülen) Movement. Mr. Gülen himself issued a statement through his lawyer that he has nothing to do with corruption investigation.

Opposition parties have dismissed the gang claims flat-out, saying that Erdoğan is simply trying to distract the public from the damaging corruption case by inventing villains.

“If you are looking for a gang, just gather the members of Cabinet, and you will see the gang there,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP), said.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli slammed Erdoğan for labeling the police a “gang.” He said the government is trying to cover up a dirty corruption scheme by picking a fight with Hizmet. “He will not succeed,” Bahçeli said.

Source: Today's Zaman , December 29, 2013


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