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Indictment seeks aggravated life sentence for graft probe prosecutor, judges

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Indictment prepared for the prosecutor and two judges, who oversaw a far-reaching corruption investigation that rocked Turkey more than two years ago, demanded aggravated life sentences on a number of charges.

Prosecutor Muammer Akkaş, as well as a judges Süleyman Karaçöl and Menekşe Uyar, are facing aggravated life sentences due to their involvement in the Dec. 17 corruption investigation. The graft probe implicated then Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, members of his family and senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures.

The indictment prepared by the Bakırköy deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Ömer Faruk Aydıner sought aggravated life sentence for Akkaş for “attempting to dissolve Government of Turkish Republic, or partially or entirely avoid its performance by using force or threat”. Akkaş also faces prison sentence up to 247 more years on charges that include “membership in a terrorist organization,” “violation of communicational secrecy,” “tapping and recording of conversations between the individuals” and “forging documents.”

Judges Karaçöl and Uyar are also facing up to 63 years  on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “forging documents” in addition to the aggravated life imprisonment on the same charge with Akkaş.

While judge Karaçöl is still arrested and judge Uyar was released and placed under judicial supervision, prosecutor Akkaş is still on the loose.

The indictment, complainants of which include Erdoğan and a number of his family members and AK Party members, was sent to the Bakırköy 2nd High Criminal Court.

Since a corruption investigation erupted on Dec. 17, 2013 and led to the resignation of four Cabinet ministers, Erdoğan has launched a witch hunt targeting shop owners, teachers, members of the judiciary, journalists and police officers who are accused of being affiliated with the Gülen movement, a grassroots social initiative inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. The movement carries out charitable activities all around the world, including education, distributing humanitarian aid and providing drinking water especially in African countries.

Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government and said that sympathizers of the movement within the police department had fabricated the corruption scandal. Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity in the course of the corruption investigation. Erdoğan openly said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement.

Erdoğan’s witch hunt against the movement escalated and expanded to include many government bodies after the July 15 military coup attempt in Turkey. He accused Gülen movement of being behind the attempted coup and demanded extradition of Gülen from the US. Thousands of public servants, judges, prosecutors and journalists were detained by the Turkish police for allegedly having links to the Gülen movement.

The Gülen movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it. Gülen recently issued a statement condemning the failed military coup attempt in Turkey, calling the allegations of his involvement “demeaning.”

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