On December 25, 2013, prosecutor Muammer Akkas issued detention warrants for 41, including Bilal Erdoğan, then Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s son. The court also ordered the freezing of their assets.
However, the newly appointed police officers who came right after the previous graft probe detentions on December 17, disobeyed the command of the prosecutor and the court. For the first time in Turkey’s near history, the police defied the orders of the prosecutor and the court.
The date on which the rule of law was abolished In Turkey by the Erdoğan Regime is December 25, 2013.
Erdogan’s son and Yasin al-Qadi, the leaders of the alleged criminal organization
Prosecutor Akkaş’s probe on December 25 included five investigations into five separate criminal organizations. Tayyip Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan and Yasin al-Qadi, an individual on the UN’s list of terrorists, were the two heads of these organizations.
Al-Qadi was an outlaw because of his relationship with al-Qaeda. However, despite being prohibited from entering the country, he repeatedly came to Turkey in secret, where he met with Tayyip Erdoğan and the chair of the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT), Hakan Fidan several times.
The prosecution’s probe originated from that point. Al-Qadi was landing in Turkey with an unregistered hidden plane, the cameras of the airport were being turned off, and he had his visits in a vehicle that belonged to the Prime Minister’s guards.
The prosecution ordered to start surveilling Osama Qutub, who was El Qadi’s right-hand man in Turkey. After months of surveillance, Bilal Erdoğan’s involvement surfaced.
First investigation: A valuable land in the Bosphorus
A company named Bosphorus 360 was founded, where Al Kadı and Bilal Erdoğan were secret shareholders. The company aimed to build a project consisting of a luxury residence, a shopping center, and a hotel on the property of Etiler Police Training School that is placed on one of the most popular districts of Istanbul.
The value of the police school’s land was declared as $ 2 billion. However, upon Tayyip Erdoğan’s involvement, 32,000 square meters of land was sold to this company for a quarter of its original value through a series of forgeries. Then, the area of the construction permit was quadrupled, and a building area of 100 thousand square meters was handed to the Bosphorus 360.
The second investigation: Forced donations to Erdogan’s foundation from businessmen
The second dossier of the December 25 corruption probe was the forced donation to the TÜRGEV Foundation, of which Bilal Erdoğan is the director, and donator businessmen were being rewarded with very good prices of public tenders.
Conversations between Bilal Erdogan and Ali Agaoglu, one of the biggest construction company owners in Turkey, were recorded within the scope of lawful interception. Bilal Erdoğan asked Ali Agaoglu to donate $ 100 million to land to his foundation. Businessman Agaoglu was forced to accept it, but in return, the construction of another project in the forest land was severely multiplied for his company.
Another finding was related to King Abdullah. Saudi King Abdullah donated $ 100 million to Bilal Erdogan’s foundation. Two months later, he received a construction permit for Sevda Hill, where construction in that part of Bosphorus was prohibited. King Abdullah had paid a bribe to Bilal Erdogan’s foundation for a billion-dollar construction permit.
It was found that many businessmen were forced to donate to the Erdoğan family foundation, and public funds were unfairly used in return.
Third investigation: controlling the media with bribery
The third file of the probe was on the fixation of the purchase of Turkey’s second-largest media group Turquoise (Turkuvaz) Media. Erdogan wanted to buy this 600 million dollar media group and turn it into a propaganda machine. To make this happen, Erdogan had gathered the businessmen who were awarded governmental construction tenders, and said he would form a “pool.” He wanted 100 million dollars from two businessmen, 150 million dollars from a businessman, 30 million dollars from a businessman, and 20 million dollars from a businessman.
Businessmen did what he said. The collection of half a billion dollars in the villa called “pool,” and the transfer of the money by armored vehicle to the owner of the Turquoise Media Group was recorded by the police teams appointed by the prosecutor.
Erdogan, with hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes, bought Turquoise media. In return, Istanbul 3 Airport, some bridge, and highway tenders were given to mentioned businessmen.
Fourth investigation: Private villas for the Erdogan family
For the Erdogan family, one of the most beautiful bays of the Aegean Sea, where historical ruins are located, was arranged. The villas were being built for Erdogan and his four children. Two separate court orders stopped construction. During the excavation in the region, historical ruins dating back 1000 years ago were discovered. But with bribes, the bay was removed from the historic area. The Erdogan family again bribed and got all the land in the region from the state without tender, and built a holiday village with a private beach for the family. Bulldozers destroyed historical ruins.
Fifth investigation: new police school territory
The status of the new police school in Istanbul Çatalca was changed so that Erdoğan could grant it to the contractor he wanted without a tender. Four hundred thousand square meters of land was taken out of the tender law. Although Minister of Environment and Urbanization Erdoğan Bayraktar opposed this situation, he had to say yes. The prosecution documented all criminal proceedings.
Obstruction of Justice
The December 25 graft probe was blocked despite all the evidence of the Prosecutor’s Office, video-voice records, and bribery documents. The prosecutor Muammer Akkaş was dismissed and fired. The police officers were also dismissed. Erdogan claimed that the prosecutor and police involved in the corruption operation were Gulenists. The newly appointed prosecutor closed the file, stating that there was no corruption. Then, all evidence has been destroyed.
Erdogan publicly acknowledges giving instructions to judiciary
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the judges who acquitted a former Turkish general and, for the first time, publicly admitted that he had given instructions to the judiciary.
Turkey has seen the dismissal of more than 30,000 Turkish military personnel from the army and the detention of thousands of former soldiers since the still-controversial failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016. The imprisoned military officers have received jail times ranging between 6 years and a life sentence in prison.
While the discussions about whether Erdogan used the coup attempt to re-design the Turkish army is still going on, Erdogan admitted his instructions to the judiciary to punish Turkish soldiers.
Acquittal of Turkish general angered Erdogan
Lieutenant General Metin İyidil was detained pending trial for three years and sentenced to life in prison over his alleged involvement in the coup attempt. However, the appeal court quashed the lower court’s ruling upon İyidil’s appeal and ruled acquittal and release of İyidil.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s arguments concerning the coup attempt have grown more controversial following the acquittal of a military general.
Any attempt to question the failed coup attempt is viewed as a taboo in Turkey. Prosecutors launch investigations right away into any claim towards the questioning of the trueness of the 15 July coup. The acquittal of İyidil has rekindled discussions on the coup, and the Turkish judiciary whose impartiality is disputed has taken action soon and ordered the re-arrest of İyidil.
Erdogan made some remarks in a press conference about İyidil’s case before flying off to Berlin for a conference on Libya’s civil war.
“It is a very upsetting development for the (Turkish) judiciary, it is not (even) understandable. How could a court take such kind of action? We have given the necessary orders”, Erdogan said in the press conference.
He further noted in his statement, “How could a court acquit or release a man previously sentenced to life in prison? Thanks to efforts of the Ministry of Justice and our prosecutors, he was apprehended soon later in a joint operation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He is now in prison and has started serving his sentence”.
Problem of judicial impartiality in Turkey
Erdogan’s regime purged about 5,000 judges and prosecutors over the past three years, and some 2,500 of them were put behind bars. The two members of the country’s top court (Constitutional Court) remain in prison. Erdogan has acquired the power with the new presidential system to appoint members of Turkey’s high courts, such as the Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation, and Conseil d’Etat.
No access to basic rights for decree-law victims
A sizeable number of Turkish citizens do not have access to fundamental rights. Erdogan regime labels them in three letters: “KHK,” which is the Turkish abbreviation for decrees that have the force of law enacted by emergency powers, also known as decree-laws.
The social security numbers of these people are flagged with certain numbers for all employers and institutions to recognize that they are blacklisted by the government.
They are barred from civil service, they are not permitted to have a passport, banks do not give loans them, in some cases they don’t even open accounts, and it is near-impossible for these people to find a job in the private sector.
Thousands of these people, most of whom are college graduates, are in prison.
Many decree-laws were issued after the state of emergency that was declared after the controversial July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. KHK is the abbreviation for Decree-Laws.
With these so-called temporary measures, about 150 thousand public employees were dismissed. The majority of them are Gulen Movement affiliates. Some of them are pro-Kurdish and leftist activists.
The government defends the dismissal of thousands of people, pointing at the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin defends the actions of the Erdogan administration with the following words; “after the merger, 500 thousand public employees in East Germany were dismissed.” However, in Germany, these people were paid compensation and benefited from the welfare state rights.
In Turkey, on the other hand, health insurance and social assistance card that is called “green card” is not given to the people dismissed by decree-laws. One hundred fifty thousand people dismissed by decree-laws were not paid compensation too.
Even withdrawing money from banks is a problem
Teacher Suzan Uzpak’s brother sent money to her from abroad. The bank officer said that she couldn’t pay the amount that was sent by a Vakıfbank transaction. Uzpak was told that it was due to her dismissal by a decree-law. “The system gave a ‘banned’ warning, and similar occasions occurred previously too,” bank officials said.
Another victim of the decree-laws announced on Twitter that Garanti Bank resisted not to open a bank account on his name. Upon public pressure, Garanti Bank had to backtrack. However, the memo sent by the bank read, “We are just opening an account; you do not have the right to use loans, EFT, wire transfer, and internet banking.” The Spanish BBVA owns Garanti Bank. This practice became the subject of a heated debate in Turkey as many questioned the possibility of such demands being made by a bank operating in an EU member country elsewhere in Europe.
Insurance Company did not make the due payment
What H.B. experienced is more striking. His wife had a car accident. Doğa Insurance did not pay the 20,000 Liras damage citing the ownership of the vehicle, for it belonged to a person dismissed by a decree-law.
In Turkey, the banks and insurance companies are monitored by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Board (BDDK), which regulates the financial sector. Board sent an official letter and a blacklist to banks warning them not to make any transaction for the people dismissed by decree-laws.
Social services denied
Teachers make up the majority of people dismissed by decree-laws; almost all of them are university graduates and well-educated people. However, they cannot find jobs due to the decree-law codes that appear on their social security records. Teacher Cemil Özen is one of them. He says they were left to starvation for three years. His application for the Green Card that is obtainable for the poorest group of people in Turkey was rejected because he was one of the people dismissed by a decree-law.
Leaving the country is also forbidden
People dismissed by decree-laws are sentenced to civil death in Turkey, and they are likewise not allowed to go abroad. Seher Kılıç, one of the most qualified people who could find work abroad, tells her experiences as follows: “I haven’t been able to get a passport for three and a half years. I asked why I couldn’t obtain a passport with an application letter. They said there is annotation next to my identity number ‘Banned, Passport cannot be given.’ My credit cards were canceled, I can’t get new ones. I have problems withdrawing the money sent by my family who lives in abroad.”
Mehmet Alkan, who was expelled from the Turkish Armed Forces, is a graduate of the Faculty of Law. However, he cannot work because his lawyer’s certificate has been canceled: Being one of a decree-law dismissed people means you are socially banned. You have no rights at all.”
Ayşe Düzkan, the interim editor of the Özgür Gündem daily which was shut down through a decree-law, tells about the actions of the HSCB, an international bank: “After I got out of prison, HSCB didn’t want to provide service to me. No calls were made to notify me. One day I couldn’t withdraw money from the ATM. I called the bank and found out that they blocked my accounts. I got my money from the office, and my cards were canceled.”
Working for private companies is no option
The reason why thousands of people who were dismissed by decree-laws such as doctors, teachers, police, and engineers cannot find a career in the private sector is the “Banned” annotation that appears next to their social security numbers. Authorities issue separate codes for those who were dismissed from the civil service, those who graduated from schools that were shut down by decree-laws or who are subscribed to newspapers that were shut down similarly.
For instance, some people have the annotation “36” inscribed next to their social security number. When they apply for a job, employers who do not want to draw the ire of the government or tax officers see that annotation and do not employ them.
Thousands of well-educated citizens of Turkey, they can neither go abroad because of travel bans nor find a job in Turkey. Some of these people, who are exposed to civil death, lost their lives while attempting to flee Turkey illegally.
English teacher Uğur Abdurrezzak and his wife Ayşe Abdurezzak, a Turkish-language teacher, were among them. They were both dismissed by a decree-law over their affiliations with the Gulen Movement. The whole family perished along with their children, eleven, and three years old. Their boat capsized as they tried to cross the border with Greece through the Maritza river.
The people dismissed by decree-laws in Turkey established a Youtube channel called KHKTV, as they try to have their voice heard. The decree-law platforms, which they founded in various provinces, are constantly under pressure from the government, and the authorities frequently ban the meetings they want to hold.
Dark side of Erdogan’s victory night
During the night of July, the 15th, when Erdogan grabbed all the power into his hands in Turkey, the civilians who lost their lives were not killed by the soldiers, yet have been executed by the militia, as the new documents have emerged.
During the controversial July 15 coup attempt that took place in Turkey in 2016, 256 people lost their lives.
However, there is no investigation on exactly how these people were murdered. The soldiers and their lawyers allegedly claim that civilians were killed by unidentified people to incite the crowd against the Turkish Armed Forces.
The lawyers` effort revealed that a significant number of civilians were murdered by ammunition that did not belong to the Turkish Armed Forces` inventory. However, the courts ignored this truth.
Now new data has come up. It’s about civilians being shot in the back of the neck with a sniper shot from a distance.
Akıncı Air Base is the alleged headquarters of the July 15 coup attempt. Journalist Adem Yavuz Arslan highlighted the essential details about the report on the killings of civilians at the entrance of the Akıncı Base.
Arslan’s article is as follows:
Eight people were killed, eighty-seven people were injured at Akinci Base Compound.
According to the indictment and official narrative, civilians who were murdered in the guardhouse were killed by soldiers by raking with long-barreled weapons from close range.
The defendants argue that they did not shoot the civilians.
According to the autopsy reports, Ömer Takdemir, Samet Cantürk, Hasan Yılmaz, Emrah Sapa, Ali Anar succumbed to the bullets entering their nape while Yasin Yılmaz died due to the bullet entered into the right ear area.
Let’s picture the scene. The soldiers are standing in a single row in the guardhouse.
Civilians are face to face with the soldiers at the guardhouse gate. The distance is less than 5 meters only. There are even verbal disputes between the soldiers and the civilians.
How come these people, standing face to face, were shot in the back of the neck?
The first thing that comes to mind is the possibility that civilians started to flee during the turmoil and that the soldiers would aim to shoot on target. However, the bullet entry angles in the autopsy reports do not indicate random shots. In other words, there would be random bullet entries on the victims` bodies if the soldiers shot the civilians at close range, as the prosecutor had claimed in his indictment and obiter dictum. However, all but one of the victims was shot in the scruff and back of the head.
The defendants claim that they were shooting in the air, not targeting the civilians, but civilians were confronted with soldiers and killed by others to provoke the crowd. Eyewitnesses also confirmed that soldiers issued warnings telling the crowd to disband, firing in the air first, and at the feet later on, in compliance with due regulations.
The defendants in the trial even played the sniper sound that was recorded on the scene for the court to hear, but the court rejected the defendants’ demands for a thorough investigation of these recordings.
To sum up, it’s highly suspicious. If the victims had random bullet holes in their bodies, they might have been shot during the chaos. However, 6 out of 8 were shot around the neck and around.
While the court should carefully proceed with the allegations, it does the opposite.