A courageous and heartless, but above all a typical Turkish prosecutor

Who is the man that filed a complaint against the AK Party in the Constitutional Court?

A ‘typical Turkish prosecutor’, that’s the most emotionally neutral description of Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, the highest public prosecutor in Turkey. Yalcinkaya filed a complaint against governing party AKP because the party is allegedly the focal point of anti-secular activities. The characterization comes from Levent Korkut, constitutional lawyer and teacher at the law faculty of Hacettepe University in Ankara: “Yalcinkaya’s goal is, like other public prosecutors, to protect the state instead of applying the law.” The state needs to be protected with all possible judicial means against perpetrators who might be dangerous to the state.

Within a week it will become clear whether the Constitutional Court will accept or reject Yalcinkaya’s complaint. There are not many concrete accusations in the complaint: more then 90 percent consists of quotes from AKP leaders and which are in fact within the bounds of freedom of speech laws. There is no evidence of violence, organised crime or terrorism – things that might justify the closing down of a party. Which does not automatically mean that the Constitutional Court will throw the complaint straight into the rubbish bin, says Korkut: “Also the Constitutional Court protects the state.” Will Yalcinkaya step down if the case is dropped? Korkut: “Small chance. It depends of course on which grounds the Court cites, but there is a good chance the prosecutor will try to find new evidence.”

Yalcinkaya’s complaint is applauded as being ‘courageous’ by the political establishment in Turkey, but ‘average Turks’ also support him. He even has a fan club at internet-friends network Facebook, with no less then 5000 members signing up within a week. But the criticism is more widely based. It comes from reformers and advocates of democracy, but also, for example, from AKP-supporting religious newspapers. They ferreted around in the private life of the 58 year old prosecutor, who is the son of a Kurdish father and a deeply religious Turkish mother from the southeast of Turkey. These newspapers’ main aim seems to be to picture Yalcinkaya as a heartless man. Abdurrahman has supposedly neglected the maintenance of a family house in a southeastern village, and supposedly did not go to the funeral of his very religious brother, who died of cancer.

Yalcinkaya is, as characterized by a Turkish magazine, like a Turkish mozaic, with his Kurdish-Turkish background, his partly religious family and parents who invested a lot in the education of both their sons and daughters. However it seems like his career in the strictly secular, state-oriented Turkish judicial system has shaped him more.

(written for Dutch news agency ANP)

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