Unusual silence permeates the high judiciary

May 20, 2010, Thursday/ 17:16:00/ VEYSEL AYHAN
Voice recordings capturing frightening disclosures by members of the high judiciary are being published on the Internet. The discussions are hair-raising. If this happened in another country, all hell would break loose.The picture here is at least as grave as the content of those discussions. It is as if it is normal for a member of the judiciary to favor criminals, engage in blackmail and perpetrate other dirty deeds, such as requesting releases on promises of position. And all of it is being flat-out ignored.

The strange thing about it is that those whose names are mentioned in these tapes have not issued any denials or filed any criminal complaints. How can these mind-blowing discussions be explained? “We have to stretch out the process here a bit; after the files are combined, all of the defendants will be released, and then we’ll extend it a bit more and the file will be closed. We have to look to facilitating some releases here.”

“I told E.Ü., if you do this, then you’re the Supreme Court of Appeals president. There are three candidates; Abdurrahman Yalçınkaya, Kadir Özbek and yourself. I told Kadir, too. If you can’t do it, you’re three men. I told them all. The path is clear for the person who does this.”

(Here, the number-one suspect in the Erzincan case, 3rd Army Commander Gen. Saldıray Berk, also comes into the picture.) “I told him, you won’t be able to make it to the hearing. Get a report now, sick leave or come up with some duty. ‘I,’ he said, ‘will [convey the message] and also come up with some duty.’ The General Staff is doing a good job with ours.”

(General Staff Legal Advisor Hıfzı Çubuklu is also involved in the events.) “The legal advisor asks, ‘Can we take it to the court of disaccord without causing any disaccord?’ … As it is, I’m also going to the hearing. We’re going to put pressure on the court. … If there’s any difficulty during this process, we’ll go to disaccord. … It could be bad; we’re going to release them all.”

The main theme in these discussions is to bring cases to the Supreme Court of Appeals and finish them off. “If we bring the case here [to the Supreme Court of Appeals], then we’ll end this case. Oktay Kuban is a good kid. He signs his signature and leaves it alone.”

The goal is to bring the Erzincan and Dursun Çiçek trials to the Supreme Court of Appeals and thus be saved from the Ergenekon prosecutors. If this happened in a country with modern legal norms, it would be the end for those having these discussions, and also those who recorded them if it’s illegal to do so. But here in Turkey, everyone’s remaining quiet. Institutions that normally make statement after statement on even the simplest of accusations have suddenly been reduced to silence.

No institution -- be it the highest-ranking and most selective -- is free of bad apples. What’s important is to be able to sort out those apples without destroying the institution itself. It’s not understandable for an entire establishment to go down under the weight of accusations involving three to five members of the high judiciary. What needs to be done isn’t that difficult, either; open investigations into those whose names are mentioned in the discussions, keep them away from the trials in question until the conclusion of the investigation and try those responsible for recording these discussions if this is also a violation of the law.

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