Turkish intelligence service no longer suspect

Istanbul (ANP) – The public prosecutor in Turkey has withdrawn the arrest warrant for four highly placed members of the national intelligence service, MIT. The highest-ranked MIT boss, Hakan Fidan, doesn’t have to testify anymore either. This was announced on Turkish media on Monday morning. A week ago the arrest warrants and the call to testify caused a huge uproar in Turkey.

The prosecutor came to his decision to withdraw earlier charges after parliament last week amended the law with unprecedented speed. The law now allows MIT employees to be interrogated only with the Prime Minister’s permission. On Monday morning the law appeared in the official state gazette after President Gül approved it, again with unprecedented speed. The prosecutor had no choice but to stop his investigation into MIT.

The prosecutor wanted to hear the the testimony of MIT employees in the so-called KCK case, in which mostly Kurdish politicians are being prosecuted for alleged ties with the Kurdish armed movement, the PKK. MIT employees did indeed have such contacts: up until last summer they held talks with the PKK, on government orders, in the Norwegian capital Oslo.

Whether the five MIT employees were indeed facing legal trouble because of the Oslo talks is not clear. Employees of the prosecutor’s office said anonymously through the media that infiltration by the MIT in the KCK, an umbrella organisation of Kurdish groups including the PKK, got out of hand: they claimed that nobody took responsibility, and infiltrated spies would have blood on their hands.

Rumours about a struggle between the AKP government and followers of the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who allegedly holds increasing influence within the judiciary, have largely ceased. As well, speculation about staunch nationalists who want to cripple the talks with the AKP meet with less response. They are also less relevant, now that the AKP has again taken control by changing the law. During the debates in parliament on the new law, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin stated that talks with the PKK could continue if necessary.

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