Date posted: December 31, 2013
The lawyer of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has strongly denied claims made by a senior government official who said on Monday that a Supreme Court of Appeals judge had asked Gülen’s opinion about a suspect whose case the court was hearing before delivering the final verdict, with the Court of Appeals also denying the allegations with a statement on Tuesday.
Nurullah Albayrak, Gülen’s attorney, said in a written statement that no conversation had taken place between his client and the judge, denying the allegations that the judge had sought the scholar’s opinion before delivering the final verdict concerning a businessman, who was later convicted in the case.
Former justice minister and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Mehmet Ali Şahin claimed that a high-level judge at the Supreme Court of Appeals had acted contrary to legal procedures and contacted Gülen before issuing his final verdict in the case against the businessman several years ago.
“What should I do in this case?” asked the judge, according to the claims by the former justice minister. He went on to say that Gülen had allegedly told the judge to do what justice requires.
Şahin’s claim came at a time when the AK Party government is accusing prosecutors, who have launched a far-reaching investigation into corruption and alleged bribery, fraud and tender rigging that involves high-level officials and ministers, of acting according to the group interests of an “illegal structure and a gang within the state.”
Albayrak rejected the allegations and denied any contact between Gülen and the judge.
Şahin meanwhile reacted to Albayrak’s statement on Tuesday, saying the lawyer’s statement was made without taking into account the full context of his speech, calling it unfortunate.
Supreme Court of Appeals slams Şahin for Gülen claims
The Supreme Court of Appeals has also denied the claims made by Şahin via a statement on Tuesday. It said such a statement, which could harm the objectivity of the court, is unacceptable and added that if Şahin has any evidence, it should be handed over to the judiciary to start legal proceedings over his claim.
On Tuesday, the Judges and Prosecutors Association (YARSAV) filed a legal complaint with the office of the head prosecutor in Ankara requesting an investigation into Şahin’s allegations about the Court of Appeals and whether a gang exists within the high court.
Gülen’s lawyer also rejected claims by a senior terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) commander who had said the Gülen movement might be behind last year’s assassination of three female PKK militants in Paris.
The bodies of three Kurdish women, including that of a co-founder of the terrorist PKK, were found in early January at the Information Center of Kurdistan in Paris. All three had been shot.
The murders took place at a time when Turkey was having talks with the terrorist PKK to resolve the country’s long-standing Kurdish problem.
Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Söylemez were discovered dead in the building in Paris.
‘Why didn’t Şahin start an investigation while he was minister?’
Following Şahin’s allegations, a leading pundit, columnist Taha Akyol from the Hürriyet daily, said Şahin, who was the justice minister when the alleged incident took place, should have started an investigation into the judge who allegedly asked Gülen about a legal case.
“The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors [HSYK] is the body that is authorized to conduct an investigation. The HSYK during Şahin’s term had a different composition than it does today,” Akyol commented on a TV program on Monday.
According to Akyol, since the HSYK back then was against the Hizmet movement and was not conservative, it could have removed that judge who is claimed to be the “imam of the Hizmet movement in the judiciary.” Akyol also said the HYSK was established in 2010 in an effort to bring Turkey’s legal system in line with Europe’s.
“I think the ministry of justice went beyond its authority in making a change requiring the judges and prosecutors to inform the administration about investigations,” Akyol further added, urging everyone to keep the rule of law above political conflicts.
Source: Today's Zaman , December 31, 2013
Tags: Defamation of Hizmet | Hizmet and politics | Turkey |