Fugitive Gülenist ex-prosecutors found in Ulm, Germany
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULAug 18, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Aug 18, 2015 12:00 am
Gülenist former Prosecutors Zekeriya Öz and Celal Kara on Monday have reportedly been detected in a hotel in Ulm, Germany, while talking with a group of people in the hotel's lobby. The two former prosecutors have had arrest warrants issued for them concerning their involvement in the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 operations, which has been said to be an apparent attempt to overthrow the government under an anti-graft probe. The two are allegedly wearing sunglasses to hide their identities.
Öz and Kara fled to Armenia through Georgia and then it was reported on Friday that they continued on to Germany. Previously on Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had given a strong message to German officials concerning the Gülenist ex-prosecutors' escape and demanded their extradition. "The fugitive ex-prosecutors have fled the country. First to Georgia, then to Armenia and now to Germany. In my opinion, a red notice will be issued soon for the two fugitives. We will closely follow Germany's attitude on the matter. Should Germany refuse to extradite the ex-prosecutors, then it will never get any criminals back from Turkey again, I will never allow it. Turkey is not a banana republic," he said. Even though Turkey has requested the return of more than 600 suspected terrorists who have been arrested in various EU countries, their extraditions have not occurred. Germany alone has rejected more than 300 requests from Ankara for the return of suspected terrorists who have actively participated in terrorist activities linked with the PKK and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which are both on the EU list of terrorist organizations.
Long before Tuesday last week, Artvin Governor Kemal Cirit announced that both Öz and Kara had fled to Armenia through Georgia, and said: "Öz and Kara left Turkey via [Artvin's] Sarp Border Gate [with Georgia] at 3:46 a.m., and 4:19 a.m. on Monday, respectively, long before the arrest order," adding that an investigation has been launched into the incident.
Again last week, Istanbul's Bakırköy Public Prosecutor's Office issued arrest warrants for Öz and Kara on allegations of attempting a coup and attempting to overthrow the democratically-elected government, and including former Prosecutor Mehmet Yüzgeç on the same charges.
Istanbul police discovered that Öz and Kara had left Turkey for Georgia early Monday just 10 minutes apart. A search was underway to find Yüzgeç, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported late Monday evening.
In December 2014, the three prosecutors were suspended in an investigation into their alleged role in the anti-graft probe against several high-profile figures, including the sons of three former government ministers and leading Turkish businessmen. The government had denounced the probe as a "dirty plot" constructed by the U.S.-based imam Fethullah Gülen's movement and his alleged "parallel structure." The three were dismissed in May 2015 in accordance with Article 69 of the Judges and Prosecutors' Law No. 2802, which states that judges and prosecutors will be dismissed from duty if their acts damage the honor of their profession and of the reputation of their public post.
The "parallel structure" refers to a purported group of bureaucrats and senior officials embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and police, who are allegedly trying to undermine the government.
Öz, who was suspended from duty at the Bolu Public Prosecutor's Office, had a lawsuit filed against him for insulting and intimidating Erdoğan while he was prime minister on Twitter. He posted the tweets in question after the operations that targeted high-level state officials took place. Öz denied the charges that he insulted and threatened Erdoğan in an eight-page statement to the court. Öz wrote on his Twitter account: "No one should desire dictatorship after the last century. His end will be like Saddam and Gadhafi. No matter who adopts lawlessness, they pay the price," allegedly alluding to Erdoğan. Öz posted another tweet soon after, saying that everyone knows the end of those who attempt to rule a state with tyranny. Öz, in response to the charges against him, said his tweets did not carry any statement that constituted a crime and would share similar tweets "again and again" if a lawsuit is filed against him.