Ankara to send official agent to investigate Gülen's activities in U.S. if no extradition
by Daily Sabah
ANKARAFeb 02, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Feb 02, 2016 12:00 am
As part of Ankara's efforts to combat the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ], the Justice Ministry has finalized a draft bill that will allow an official agent to be assigned to take testimony from the terrorist organization leader Fetullah Gülen via voice or video. Once the draft bill passes Parliament it will allow the Justice Ministry to have more of a say in the situation. The Justice Ministry reportedly sent a draft bill under the title International Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters to the Cabinet meeting on Monday. The proposed bill combines matters of international judicial assistance and extradition of criminals in one law. The draft bill also aims to provide modifications to the processes of extracting Turkish suspects living in foreign countries, such as Gülen, and the questioning of foreign suspects in Turkey.
The draft bill includes six main modifications. The first item gives permission to the Justice Ministry's International Justice General Directorate to deny any extraction of a foreign suspect or judicial assistance requested by another foreign country if there is an evident mistake in the request. While the decision to deny or accept such a request currently has to be decided at a Cabinet meeting, the newly introduced bill gives direct authority to the Justice Ministry. In addition to the decision of extradition of a suspect in Turkey, a suspect's social status will also be taken into consideration in the decision.
Furthermore, assigning an official agent to the location of Turkish suspects to investigate their activities outside Turkey will also be allowed with the new draft, as it gives permission to take testimony from a suspect through means of voice or video. So if the U.S. does not extradite Gülen, Ankara will be able to assign an agent to the U.S. to conduct a private investigation into the organization and its leader's activities that may be held against Turkey. Additionally, Gülen will be subjected to give either voice or video testimony under this draft bill.
The draft bill suggests establishing an interrogation delegation jointly with various countries to investigate all crimes including terror. For instance, if a terrorist organization such as DAESH is conducting terrorist attacks in Turkey or other countries then a joint delegation including prosecutors from Turkey and the relevant countries will conduct investigations. Many terror suspects are defined as political criminals due to current laws, leading to rejection of extradition requests.
As a result of the application of the current law, the same rule applies to Turkey from other countries, especially in the case of PKK and Revolutionary People's Liberation Party Front (DHKP-C) terrorists living in Europe. With the new draft, extradition and the status of the suspect will be decided by the method of carrying out and use of weapons in the crime. In the case of another country denying an extradition request and interrogation of a suspect living outside Turkey, such as Gülen, then Turkish authorities will be able to assign the relevant country to conduct the interrogation on behalf of Turkey.