Turkish prosecutor removed amidst controversy over MİT head testimony
A prosecutor overseeing an investigation into a terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) affiliated organization has been removed from the case in wake of his move last week to summon Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT) undersecretary to testify as part of the probe, Today's Zaman reported.
İstanbul Specially Authorized Prosecutor Sadrettin Sarıkaya was removed from the case on Saturday by İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Turan Colakkadı. In initial comments on the chief prosecutor's move, Sarıkaya said he respects Colakkadı's decision. Two new prosecutors have been assigned to the case after Sarıkaya's removal.
Sarıkaya last week summoned MİT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, his predecessor Emre Taner and MİT Deputy Undersecretary Afet Gunes 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 Gunes, Taner and two MİT officials, Yasar Yıldırım and Huseyin Kuzuoglu. The prosecutor requested warrants from the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court on Friday and the court accepted the prosecutor's request.
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 was overseeing the probe into the KCK with Bilal Bayraktar. With two new prosecutors assigned to replace Sarıkaya, three prosecutors are now involved in the case.
Thirty-one 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 as part of the KCK investigation.
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.