Springing out from the confusion of the past week has been the public statement made by Muammer Akkaş, the prosecutor taken off the corruption investigation yesterday. With remarkable honesty and clarity, he explained how newly-appointed police chiefs refused to cooperate with him, giving suspects time to destroy evidence, and how he was sacked without justification.
I copy an English translation of the statement from a Turkish daily below:
“It becomes a necessity to deliver this statement due to pressure I faced during the investigation that I led.
I have been leading an investigation into allegations of a criminal organization being formed for tender rigging, bribery, abuse of power, forgery of documents, intimidation and other crimes such as violation of Law No. 2863, that involve several well-known figures and some public servants. Yesterday morning [Wednesday 25th December], I submitted search, seizure and detention decisions by a court to the İstanbul Police Department in order to collect the pieces of evidence before they are eradicated. I noticed in media and some Internet websites names of the some of the suspects who were supposed to be detained and that the pieces of evidence were being destroyed. On the same day, I noticed that the court decision and the decision to detain the suspects were not carried out despite my meeting with police chiefs who were supposed to take part in the operation in the courthouse at 7:00 p.m.
Today, I learned that the investigation dossier, which includes search, seizure and detention decisions, was taken from my authority without any justification being offered. From now on, the responsibility is on the İstanbul chief public prosecutor and deputy chief public prosecutor. All my colleagues and the public should know that a public prosecutor prevented me from conducting the investigation.
For this reason, open pressure was put on the judiciary through the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office as well as security services who are responsible for implementing the decisions of prosecution, and the implementation of court decisions were prevented.
By not implementing the court decisions, police chiefs committed a crime. An opportunity was given to suspects to take measures, escape or mitigate the evidence. As a member of the judiciary that is expected to act as independent and neutral as one of the three basic branches of the state, we are expected to do what is necessary within the authority granted to us against crimes and those who committed a crime.
Our duty is not to ignore the violation of rights of the nation by fearing and holding back because of pressure but to realize our duty in the best way in a bid to protect the rights of our nation. In this difficult process, I expect the whole legal community, particularly senior law workers, to defend the independence of the judiciary.”