#JudicialCorruption: New allegations against the Chief Justice of Istanbul

In recent months, a series of revelations has spotlighted the judicial corruption within the Turkish judiciary. These include the Chief Public Prosecutor of Ankara being bribed by a mobster, the Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor of Izmir extorting businesspeople under the threat of arrest, embezzling money from companies under his trusteeship, and most recently, mutual accusations of bribery, extortion, and abuse of office between the Chief Justice (Bekir Altun) and Chief Prosecutor (İsmail Uçar) of Istanbul. Turkey Human Rights Blog has extensively covered these revelations in previous articles.

AKP’s golden boy prosecutor turned out to be corrupt to the core
Corruption allegations about senior Turkish judge do not die down
Mobster exposes deep rot in the Turkish judiciary
Istanbul’s Chief Prosecutor accuses Chief Justice of rampant corruption

The scandal in the Istanbul Courthouse, initially sparked by a letter from Istanbul Anatolian Chief Public Prosecutor İsmail Uçar to the Council of Judges and Prosecutors, has now intensified with Judge Erdinç Demet’s startling allegations against Bekir Altun, the Chief Justice of one of Istanbul’s two judicial districts.

Erdinç Demet’s Allegations: A Detailed Examination

Judge Erdinç Demet’s petition to the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) illuminates the alleged systemic corruption and manipulation within the judiciary, with a particular focus on Bekir Altun’s involvement in several serious charges.

Undue Influence on Judicial Decisions: Demet accuses Altun of pressuring judges, including himself, to influence their rulings, notably in the case of businessman Necat Gülseven, where Altun allegedly pushed for an acquittal.

Screenshot 2023-11-21 at 09.29.24Turkish Media announces the Judge Demet’s allegations as  “A new petition was submitted to the CPJ: There is a structure intimidating everyone”

Threats and Professional Retaliation: The allegations point to Altun using intimidation tactics, threatening judges with professional consequences like reassignment for non-compliance with his directives.

Evidence of Pressure: Central to Demet’s claim is an audio recording purportedly capturing Altun exerting pressure on the Gülseven case. This evidence, if authenticated, could substantially prove Altun’s alleged misconduct.

The Case of Necat Gülseven Demet details how Altun allegedly insisted on Gülseven’s acquittal, countering Demet’s resistance and the sentence’s confirmation by the Court of Appeal. The subsequent appointment of a new judge who ruled for retrial and eventual acquittal underscores Demet’s assertions of systemic manipulation.

The Broader Implications of Demet’s Claims Beyond the Gülseven case, Demet’s allegations depict a judiciary compromised by the conduct of its members.

Judicial Slander and Labeling: Judges deviating from certain expectations were reportedly slandered by Chief Justice Bekir Altun and faced career repercussions.

Culture of Fear: Demet describes an atmosphere of fear and compliance among judges in the Istanbul Anatolian Courthouse, coerced by a dominant internal structure.

Bribery and Influence: Investigations into the Gülseven case hint at a broader network of bribery and judicial influence, indicating a widespread issue of corruption.

Demet’s Stand and Call for Transparency Central to Demet’s narrative is his refusal to succumb to alleged pressure and his commitment to judicial integrity. He urges a comprehensive investigation into both his and Altun’s actions and calls for public disclosure of the findings, underscoring the importance of transparency in addressing these serious matters.

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