April 24, 2017
Dismissed and arrested judges Metin Özçelik and Mustafa Başer were sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment by 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation on Monday over their alleged membership to a “terror organization” and the claim of “abusing their authority.”
Judges Özçelik and Başer have been known with their decision to release a group of police officers who took part in critical graft and terror operations together with now-closed Samanyolu Broadcating Group’s General Manager and journalist Hidayet Karaca on April 25, 2015.
With unprecedent graft operations organized by prosecutors and a group of police officers on Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013, the corruptions and bribery scandal of the inner circle of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had been exposed. It was also exposed that Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who had paid Cabinet-level officials and public bank’s officers bribes to facilitate illegal transactions benefiting Iran under US sanctions.
After Erdoğan cast the case as a coup attempt to overthrow his government orchestrated by his political enemies, several prosecutors were removed from the case, police were reassigned and the investigation against Zarrab was dropped. Eventually, those police officers and jurists who had role in graft operations have been arrested and put in jail.