CHP's Cihaner to be brought to court by force

CHP Denizli deputy İlhan Cihaner speaks during a meeting. (Photo: Cihan, Burak Çan)

May 10, 2013, Friday/ 11:21:00

The Supreme Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy İlhan Cihaner, a former chief public prosecutor who faces charges of membership in a terrorist organization, be brought to court by force if necessary to give testimony.

The latest hearing in the trial of 11 suspects, including Cihaner and retired Gen. Saldıray Berk, was held on Friday by the 11th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals. Cihaner was not present at the hearing and the court ordered the police department to bring the suspect to the court by force if necessary to testify.

In addition to being charged with membership in a terrorist organization, the suspects face charges of forging official documents, issuing threats and illegally keeping tabs on other people.

Cihaner resigned from his post as a public prosecutor in 2011 and was elected a deputy for the CHP in the general elections of June 12 of the same year.

The 11th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals in April 2011 decided to send the case file in which Cihaner was accused of membership in a terrorist organization to the Ministry of Justice.

The chamber said a prosecutor involved in the investigation failed to receive authorization from the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) to carry out the investigation. The HSYK then allowed an investigation into Cihaner, citing serious allegations leveled against the former prosecutor in an indictment filed against him in 2010 that accused Cihaner of working to put into operation the “Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism” in Erzincan.

The action plan details a military plan to destroy the image of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Gülen movement in the eyes of the public, to play down the Ergenekon investigation and to gather support for members of the military arrested as part of the investigation into Ergenekon. Ergenekon is a clandestine organization nested within the state and bureaucracy with the ulterior motive of fomenting chaos in society to allow for a military takeover.

The plot mentions a subversive plan to plant ammunition and weapons in the houses of some religious communities. The munitions would later be found during a police search, and residents of those places would be accused of terrorist acts.

Cihaner's case was last year sent back to the 11th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals after the HYSK granted permission to investigate him. Although Cihaner is still a deputy and holds parliamentary immunity, his immunity does not apply when it comes to terror-related charges.

Last month, Cihaner confessed to having ordered the wiretapping of phone conversations of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and several other politicians and journalists during his term in office as a chief public prosecutor.

Cihaner spoke to a parliamentary commission set up to investigate illegal wiretapping in the country following a request from Yeni Şafak journalist Abdülkadir Selvi. Selvi asked Cihaner questions about his orders for the wiretapping of state officials and journalists.

Cihaner told the commission that he ordered the wiretapping of phone conversations of Erdoğan, former Energy Minister Hilmi Güner, İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş and Yeni Şafak owner Ahmet Albayrak when he served as the Erzincan chief public prosecutor. He said the wiretappings were aimed at obtaining evidence as part of an investigation he was involved in at the time.

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