Corruption allegations about senior Turkish judge do not die down

Developments surrounding the former chief prosecutor of Ankara, Yüksel Kocaman, who is currently a judge at the Supreme Court of Appeals (Court of Cassation), have been making headlines in recent weeks. 

Following recent allegations involving mafia boss Ayhan Bora Kaplan, Cumhuriyet Daily sheds light on yet another scandal. Kocaman is now accused of obstructing a murder investigation in favour of a wealthy businessman and his son, who allegedly spent a staggering 30 million Turkish Liras to get away with murder.

As previously reported, Kaplan, who is accused of dominating the Ankara drug market from 2016-2023, allegedly provided luxury gifts to Kocaman in exchange for dropping legal investigations against him. Kocaman, now a member of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals, has admitted to meeting Kaplan, though he vehemently denies any wrongdoing.

Yüksel Kocaman: A Controversial Figure

Significant political trials and controversies marked Kocaman’s term as Ankara’s Chief Public Prosecutor from January 2017 to November 2020. Notably, he played a key role in the re-arrest of Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, defying an order from the European Court of Human Rights. Further controversy arose when Kocaman flouted COVID-19 regulations during his wedding, travelling to President Erdoğan’s palace and later enjoying a lavish honeymoon.

New Allegations Emerge

Cumhuriyet Daily shed light on yet another scandal. Kocaman is now alleged to have intervened in a murder investigation involving a wealthy businessman and his son, who supposedly spent a hefty sum of 30 million Turkish liras to obstruct justice.

Murder of a businessperson

Ömer Faruk Ilıcan, chairman of Kalegaz Co, was fatally shot in March 2018 in central Ankara. The murder remained hidden from the public for an inexplicable 51 days. When finally exposed, Cemal Kadooğlu, a key executive of Kadooğlu Holding, was briefly arrested, while his son Tarkan Kadooğlu evaded capture.

Murder suspect and Chief Prosecutor Kocaman meets

In a surprising twist, it’s alleged that AKP deputy Ahmet Uzer, purportedly financed by Kadooğlu, tried to divert the course of the murder investigation. This led to secret meetings at the Ankara Courthouse, with Kadooğlu allegedly meeting Kocaman in his office.

The prosecutor originally handling the case, Ali İhsan Akdoğan, was reportedly sidelined after drafting an indictment naming all suspects, including Kadooğlu. Kocaman allegedly interfered, pulling the indictment and reassigning the case to Deputy Chief Prosecutor Burhan Tezcan.

Pressure on judges

The story deepens with claims of undue pressure on judges, secret meetings beyond official procedures, and even the defendant’s lawyers’ preparation of a fake indictment. To add fuel to the fire, a senior public bank official is alleged to have attempted to bribe Tezcan, an act supposedly known to high-ranking state officials.

This quagmire of alleged corruption raises serious concerns about the integrity of the judicial system in Ankara. With each revelation, public trust erodes further. As the stories of bribery, manipulation, and abuse of power pile up, there is no sign of investigation about Kocaman currently a member of the Court of Cassation.

The summary translation of the article published in Cumhuriyet Daily is as follows

On 21 March 2018, Ömer Faruk Ilıcan, chairman of Kalegaz Co gunned down in Ankara. However, Turkey learnt about this murder 51 days later. How strange, the murder of a holding company boss in the centre of the capital was being hidden for 51 days.

Weeks later, Kadooğlu Holding executives were detained as suspects in the murder. However, while Cemal Kadooğlu, the honorary president of the holding, was arrested, his son Tarkan Kadooğlu was on the run. Later, the father Kadooğlu was released.

Immediately afterwards, a new wheel started to operate. AKP deputy Ahmet Uzer stepped in for businessperson Cemal Kadooğlu who was allegedly the financier of Uzer. In order to change the course of the murder investigation, Uzer met with the then Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül.  Finally, two secret meetings were held at the Ankara Courthouse. It is alleged that the murder suspect father Cemal Kadooğlu met with the Ankara chief public prosecutor in his office room. Who was that chief prosecutor? Yüksel Kocaman, who today is accused of being related to mobster Ayhan Bora Kaplan!

Chief Prosecutor Kocaman allegedly advised Kadooğlu, the murder suspect that their lawyers and the investigating prosecutor be in close contact, sit down together and talk to each other. However, Ali İhsan Akdoğan, the prosecutor in charge of the murder investigation, did not observe the instruction of Kocaman. He prepared a detailed indictment that named everyone, including Cemal Kadooğlu, as suspects in the murder. This indictment was submitted directly to the court without the knowledge of Chief Prosecutor Kocaman.

The chief prosecutor Kocaman however intervened and withdrew the indictment saying it was submitted by mistake. The prosecutor Ali İhsan Akdogan was removed from the file, and it was entrusted to Deputy Chief Prosecutor Burhan Tezcan.

Disgrace upon disgrace 

The rot was snowballing. Judges were pressurised to release the murder suspect… Judges who resisted were also removed from the bench. The new judges were involved in the negotiation with the Kadooğlu family and asked them to surrender the runaway hitmen.

It was not enough. A deputy chief prosecutor at the Ankara Courthouse and the lawyer of the Kadooğlu family, a murder suspect, met secretly outside the judicial proceedings. Not enough. A “to be (pirate) indictment” prepared by the lawyers of the suspects was given to the deputy Ankara chief prosecutor to be submitted to the court. Not enough. In the indictment, the motive for the murder was changed (in favour of the Kadooglu family). 

Not enough. The deputy general manager of a public bank stepped in. He attempted to give the bag containing 260 thousand USD to the new prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Burhan Tezcan, at the Ankara Courthouse. However, the prosecutor refused to take the money at the courthouse.

It is alleged that Tezcan, the prosecutor who was offered a bribe, told what happened to him to senior figures in the Ministry of Justice, the Council of Judges and Prosecutors and the Presidency. In other words, the top of the state knew what happened. It was rumoured in Ankara that Chief Prosecutor Kocaman had been dismissed at that time. Just at this time, an interesting photograph emerged. On 20 November 2018, Chief Prosecutor Kocaman shared a photo of his visit to President Erdoğan on social media.

Screenshot 2023-09-25 at 09.39.56

In a murder case where the instigators were rescued, everything has reached such a dirty point… A businessman and justice itself were murdered in Ankara. From the expensive watches given as bribes to the change of the prosecutor to the preparation of four versions of indictments, there was one disgrace after another.

Categories: Turkey Human Rights Blog


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