Former Supreme Court of Appeal Chief Prosecutor said that former officers were being detained based on groundless claim under Ergenekon probe

Commenting yesterday on the Ergenekon probe, former Supreme Court of Appeal Chief Prosecutor Sabih Kanadođlu, whose house was searched under the probe, said that distinguished civilians and former officers who had served the state for many years in high-level positions were being detained based on groundless claims.

Kanadoglu said that he was concerned that basing the probe on such shaky grounds undermined it. Saying that there is in fact an illegal organization within the state, Kanadođlu added that a better, non-politically motivated investigation is needed to expose it. Citing the Susurluk case of the late 1990s, before he retired, Kanadoglu said had been unable to expose illegal organizations within the state due to obstruction by politicians, their immunity from prosecution, and their protection for suspected bureaucrats.

He also urged the government not to interfere in the ongoing Ergenekon probe, criticizing what he claimed was illegal phone taps under the probe. In related news, foreign media reports on the probe are focusing on rising political tension due to the recent detentions, expressing concern that this tension could harm Turkey's political stability.

Source: Milliyet (Turkey), January 15, 2009

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Erdogan dismisses opposition claims that Ergenekon probe is politically motivated

Speaking at his Justice and Development Party's (AKP) parliamentary group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan devoted the bulk of his speech to debate sparked by the recent detentions and arrests under the Ergenekon probe, urging everyone to refrain from casting a shadow over the judiciary.

Stressing the importance of respecting judicial independence, Erdogan said, "Prosecutors and judges are continuing their efforts fully independent of all outside pressure." The government, politicians and citizens have a responsibility to help laws be implemented in the best way possible, he said. Dismissing main opposition Republican People Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal's claims that the government has made the probe a political tool, Erdogan said, "We set out with the goal of fighting the mafia and gangs. Our fight against these groups is certainly not based on any desire for revenge."

Citing how the police recently found underground caches of weapons as part of the probe, Erdogan asked, "How will the CHP explain these weapons?" Accusing Baykal of interfering in the ongoing judicial process of the probe, Erdogan said, "Sometimes he says the fight against gangs should continue, but sometimes he acts like Ergenekon's defense lawyer."

Source: Turkiye (Turkey), January 14, 2009

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