Prosecutor insists on Turkish intelligence head's testimony as warrant issued for others
İstanbul Specially Authorized Prosecutor Sadrettin Sarıkaya this week summoned MİT Undersecretary Fidan, his predecessor Emre Taner and MİT Deputy Undersecretary Afet Güneş to testify in the ongoing investigation into the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), which Turkish prosecutors say is a group that controls the PKK and other affiliated groups.
MİT appealed the prosecutor's move to summon Fidan to testify on Thursday, arguing the prosecutor's office should have asked permission from the prime minister, but prosecutor Sarıkaya rejected the appeal on Friday. The prosecutor also asked the Ankara Prosecutor's Office to hear Fidan's testimony and obtained warrants for Güneş, Taner and two MİT officials, Yaşar Yıldırım and Hüseyin Kuzuoğlu. The prosecutor requested warrants from the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court on Friday and the court accepted the prosecutor's request.
Yıldırım and Kuzuoğlu, two of the MİT officials for whom a capture warrant was issued on Friday, were detained in İstanbul in the evening hours. They were to be transferred to the İstanbul Courthouse following medical examinations as Today's Zaman went to print.
Commenting on the prosecutor's latest move on Friday, President Abdullah Gül said the developments are unfortunate and saddening for Turkey.
"Utmost attention should be paid when directing accusations at some [state] institutions when it concerns their duties. All these developments are truly unfortunate and saddening. I hope everyone will keep calm and everything settles down," he said. Gül also received Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin at the Çankaya presidential palace on Friday to discuss the latest developments.
Reports say police are also searching homes in Ankara for four former MİT officials, for whom warrants were issued. The prosecutor's move spurred a debate over whether a prosecutor is authorized to prosecute Fidan, who might, along with the four other MİT officers, face charges of collaborating with the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK). The discussion concerns whether prosecutors looking to indict or even question Fidan might need special permission from the prime minister's office, which MİT answers to.
On Friday, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) presented a draft law to Parliament according to which specially authorized prosecutors have to receive permission from the prime minister when they take legal action against MİT officials.
İstanbul Specially Authorized Prosecutor Sarıkaya and İstanbul Prosecutor Bilal Bayraktar are overseeing the probe into the KCK as part of which 31 individuals, including former Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Fatma Kurtulan and the former chairman of the now-defunct pro-Kurdish Democratic People's Party (DEHAP), Tuncer Bakırhan, were arrested on Jan. 17.
Sources say new evidence in the KCK probe -- including testimonies from suspects and witnesses as well as letters exchanged between senior KCK members and PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, which prosecutors say were used for relaying orders for attacks -- has led to the three men being summoned. In addition, individuals recently arrested in connection with the KCK probe were MİT agents and information provided by these individuals was also taken into consideration. The prosecution suspects that some of these agents might have crossed sides and collaborated with the KCK.
Reports claim that according to documents in the case file the KCK was actually founded under MİT oversight. It has also been alleged that orders for some of the KCK's attacks were given from sources inside MİT.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Friday called on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to hold a press conference to explain the latest developments to the public.
Speaking to reporters after attending the general assembly of the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers' Unions (DİSK) in İstanbul on Friday, the CHP leader said: "The prime minister should explain this as soon as possible. He is the one who administers the country. The state is not administered well. It is not certain who is doing what. So we don't have the ability to comment at this point."
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli released a written statement on Friday regarding the latest developments and called on MİT officials who were asked to testify to prosecutors to do so, saying that this will be in line with the spirit of the law.
Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım, who also commented on Friday's developments, said laws set the rules as to how public officials could be prosecuted, and hence everyone should act in line with these laws.
"I do not feel the need to provide an explanation on this issue now. The judiciary will do its job and we will do our job. The way public officials are prosecuted is set by laws. Everyone should act in line with them," said Yıldırım.
MİT official, four others detained in Adana
In a separate development on Friday, five individuals, including one MİT official, were detained in Adana upon an order from the Adana specially authorized public prosecutor.
A statement released by the prosecutor's office stated that the individuals were detained as part of a probe concerning the forced handover of two Syrian nationals -- Hüseyin Mustafa Harmuş, a Syrian commander, and Mustafa Kassum -- to Syrian security forces after they were taken from refugee camps in Hatay's Altınözü district last year.
The statement also noted that five individuals were detained on charges of political spying and depriving individuals of their freedom. Several MİT officials were called to the Adana Prosecutor's Office to testify as suspects in the case, but only one was detained, the statement added.