Turkish gov’t arrests brother-in-law of prominent graft prosecutor Zekeriya Öz

Zekeriya Öz

Turkish government has arrested Cemal Yavaş, the brother-in-law of the prominent corruption prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, who exposed Dec. 17/25, 2013 corruption and bribery scandal of the cabinet ministers and family members of Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, over his alleged links to the Gülen movement on Tuesday

It was reported that Yavaş, who was taken into custody in Bursa province on Tuesday following a detention warrant issued by Bursa Chief Prosecutor’s Office within the scope of an investigation against the alleged members of the Gülen movement, was arrested by a local court on the same day.

The Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crimes Division teams of Bursa’s Provincial Security Directorate  detained Yavaş in his house after searching the house. According to the investigation, it is claimed that Zekeriya Öz had frequently met with several alleged members of the Gülen movement before he went abroad. After the interrogation in police station, Yavaş was transferred to a local court and arrested.

Then-İstanbul Deputy Public Prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, who were responsible for the investigation launched against the earth chattering corruption scandal in Turkey at the end of 2013, was the leading prosecutor of the Dec. 17/25, 2013 corruption investigation which had also incriminated the cabinet ministers and Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s family members.

 The detention of Öz’s borther-in-law has interpreted as vengeance of Erdoğan regime as the trial of a Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who are main actor of the corruption scandal in late 2013, to start in New York this week.

Erdoğan had cast that investigation as a coup attempt orchestrated by his political enemies. Several Turkish prosecutors were removed from the case, police investigators were reassigned, and the investigation was later dropped.

Now Öz faces Turkish government’s charges of “forming an illegal organization,” “attempting to topple or incapacitate the government through the use of force or coercion” and “preventing the government from performing its duties partially or completely” with the corruption investigations went public December 17-25, 2013.

In August 2015, detention warrants were issued for Zekeriya Öz, Celal Kara and Mehmet Yüzgeç, all former prosecutors who took part in the corruption investigations. The whereabouts of Yüzgeç is unknown, while prosecutors Öz and Kara are known to live in exile.

Turkish government requested Interpol red notices on Monday for three prominent former prosecutors. The Supreme Court has issued a request for red notices covering ex-prosecutors Zekeriya Öz, Celal Kara and Mehmet Yüzgeç, who are sought over the December 2013 corruption probe which invested Turkey’s biggest corruption scandal, over being behind a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Reza Zarrab and eight other people, including a former economy minister and three executives of Turkish state-owned Halkbank, have been charged with engaging in transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran’s government and Iranian entities from 2010 to 2015 in a scheme to evade US sanctions.

Accused of receiving tens of millions of dollars in bribes from the scheme is former economy minister Zafer Çağlayan, who the Turkish government says acted within Turkish and international law, but only Zarrab and Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla have been arrested by US authorities.

The government of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claims the case has been fabricated for political motives, with tensions between the two NATO ally countries affecting investor sentiment towards Turkey and contributing to the fall to record lows of the Turkish lira.

The Turkish government’s blatant abuse of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to persecute, harass and intimidate critics and opponents is much worse than one can imagine, a research by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF), an advocacy group that tracks rights violations in Turkey, has revealed.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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