Investigation launched into allegations of corruption in Turkey’s judiciary: justice minister

Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç

Turkish Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç has announced that an investigation has been launched into allegations of corruption in the judiciary that were recently voiced by İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor İsmail Uçar, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Gazete Duvar news website.

Uçar came forward with a letter sent to the Council of Judges and Prosecutors’ (HSK) secretary-general exposing widespread corruption in the country’s judicial system, according to a report in the Birgün daily last week.

In the letter sent on Oct. 6, Uçar detailed allegations of bribery, nepotism and other irregularities in the judicial system. The letter also included accusations against Bekir Altun, president of the İstanbul Judicial Commission.

He alleged that decisions were made by İstanbul’s criminal courts of peace at the Anadolu Courthouse to block access to internet content and to release suspects in exchange for money.

Tunç issued a statement on Monday on the X social media platform regarding Uçar’s letter, saying the HSK had initiated an investigation into the allegations and that an inspector had been assigned to the case.

The minister said any act substantiated with concrete evidence and that constitutes a crime won’t go unpunished. He also noted the need to avoid making generalizations and statements that would cast suspicion on all members of the judiciary and undermine confidence in the justice system.

Meanwhile, the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) and bar associations operating across Turkey’s 81 provinces released a joint statement on Monday calling for the allegations to be thoroughly investigated to remove any doubt.

“… It is not enough for justice to be served; it also needs to be perceived as such. The way to achieve this is through the construction of a transparent and accountable system,” the lawyers said, vowing to do their best to uphold the impartiality and independence of the judiciary by closely monitoring the process until its conclusion.

Uçar, one of the prosecutors involved in closing corruption investigations in late 2013, was initially appointed as the deputy chief public prosecutor in İstanbul. Later, in 2017, he appeared to be rewarded by his appointment as İstanbul chief public prosecutor.

The December 17-25 bribery and corruption investigations shook the country back in 2013. The probe implicated, among others, the family members of four cabinet ministers as well as the children of then-prime minister and current president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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