Justice Ministry speaks on claims regarding Ergenekon suspect

The Ministry of Justice issued a statement on Monday in response to media reports »»

The Ministry of Justice issued a statement on Monday in response to media reports that no international arrest warrant was issued for former Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Turhan Çömez.

Çömez is a suspect in the trial of alleged members of the Ergenekon organization, a clandestine network accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

The statement reads that only judicial bodies can apply to Interpol for international arrest warrants and that documentation requesting a red notice from Interpol for apprehension of the suspect was forwarded to the National Police Department.

The trial is being heard by the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The ministry claims it requires an explicit request and formal documentation from the court to make such a warrant request and that obtaining international warrants for suspects known to be at large outside Turkey is outside the jurisdiction of the ministry.

The statement says that on Oct. 8, 2009, the ministry requested documentation from the court regarding the accusations leveled against Çömez, including investigation reports and a copy of the domestic arrest warrant. According to the statement, police were aware Çömez had left the country on June 7, 2008, and the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court expressed in a notice sent to the ministry on Nov. 23, 2009, that it did not see the necessity of filing a red notice request for the suspect.

On Aug. 26, 2011, the statement claims, the National Police Department revealed that Çömez was residing in London and requested orders indicating the course of action to be taken. On the same day the ministry applied to the court in writing a second time asking whether a red notice request should be filed for Çömez. However, the process was delayed by procedural errors in correspondence between the court and the ministry, the statement notes.

On May 24, 2012, the court finalized the process by filing a request with Interpol. “On the same day the documentation provided to our ministry requesting a red notice was forwarded to the National Police Department,” the statement notes.



Columnist: TODAY'S ZAMAN