No country should protect FETÖ members, top judge says

Published 05.09.2017 20:47
Updated 05.09.2017 20:48

The chairman of Turkey's Supreme Court called on countries that shelter fugitive members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) to assist the Turkish judiciary by handing over suspects.

Speaking at the judicial year opening day ceremony at the Supreme Court of Appeals in the capital Ankara yesterday, İsmail Rüştü Cirit said that avoiding the extradition of fugitive FETÖ members creates obstacles for truthfully concluding the investigations.

"The international organizations and governments who are concerned with 'fair trials' must assist Turkish justice first. Their sincerity in the request for fair trials seems problematic since they are preventing a fair trial by not returning the suspects. I would like to emphasize that states that do not extradite illegal fugitives, on the contrary protect them, must first of all respect their law," Cirit said.

The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, the head of Turkey's Constitutional Court Zühtü Arslan, opposition Republican People's Party Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, the head of the Council of State Zerrin Güngör, Deputy Prime Minister Fikri Işık, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül, Minister of Labor and Social Security Jülide Sarıeroğlu, Minister of Development Lütfi Elvan, Minister of National Education İsmet Yilmaz, the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) Deputy Chairman Mehmet Yılmaz and high judicial members.

Cirit added that their task is to act according to objective evidence without compromising human rights standards instead of judging with emotion, enthusiasm and prejudice.

He contended that almost one-third of the country's judicial staff was involved in the FETÖ-linked activities, adding it was traumatizing that the members of the country's judicial staff were involved in terrorist activities.

"It is of course a confidence-shaking situation for society that almost one-third of judges and prosecutors, who are supposed to be entirely trustworthy, were involved in terrorist activities," Cirit said.

FETÖ orchestrated a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, which left 250 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured, masterminded by the terror group's U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen.

It carried out a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Cirit said those who misused their judicial powers to support the terrorist organization would equally stand trial in line with the Turkish legal system.

He warned the countries backing terrorism and urged them to comply with international agreements and international law.

"Each country is responsible for fighting terrorism and obliged to take measures to prevent the transfer of weapons and ammunition to terrorist organizations. Failing to take these measures is equivalent to openly supporting terrorism. However, those countries supporting terrorism should know that one day these weapons will be turned against them someday. We expect countries, which indirectly or directly support terrorism, to act in accordance with international agreements and international law," he said.

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