ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
Controversy over the possible impeachment of the president is growing, as a former chief prosecutor argued Friday that Abdullah Gül could indeed be tried in the �lost trillion� lawsuit.
In an article published Friday in daily Cumhuriyet, a former chief public prosecutor, Sabih Kanadoğlu, started a new discussion regarding the subject and the position of the president. �The real scandal is the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office's dismissal of proceedings on the grounds that the president cannot be held accountable for personal crimes he committed,� Kanadoğlu said, speaking to the Turkish Daily News on Friday.
Prosecutors will have to take the case from where it was left before Gül was elected president after his term in office ends, according to Kanadoğlu. �One cannot argue that a president has immunity against personal crimes as well. This means he could even kill a person. This type of mentality has no place in penal or the constitutional law,� Kanadoğlu stressed.
Gül can still be subject to charges once his presidential term ends, noted Kanadoğlu, but argued that the statutory limitation could also bar the suit.
Members of the Islamic-rooted Welfare Party, or RP, were accused of embezzling Treasury aid to the party after it was shut down by the Constitutional Court, instead of returning it in accordance with the law. The Ankara Prosecutor's Office ruled that the current constitutional system includes no provisions for trying the president and decided that no investigation against Gül was possible due to legal restrictions.
Finance Ministry has the last say
An objection was filed for the dismissal decision, but the highest penal court in Sincan, a district of Ankara, decided to turn it back and noted that the case must be sent to the Finance Ministry, which is a party to the lawsuit as it suffered damages by the crime.
�The decision must still be objected. Now only the Finance Ministry can do it, but I do not think they ever will,� said Kanadoğlu.
The main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, argued that the president is still a party in the lost trillion case. The president's office responded to criticism by claiming that Gül was not an accused in the case.
�It is true that he is not an �accused.' Before the changes in the Penal Code in 2005, a person suspected of committing a crime was called an accused, now he is called the suspect,� Kanadoğlu underlined, pointing out that Gül was still a suspect in the case.
Gül also noted in the written announcement that he had faced a suit for damages brought by the Finance Ministry while he was a deputy but the court ruled he had no financial responsibilities in his former party and acquitted him in April 2007, before he was elected president.
Penal lawsuit may continue
Kanadoğlu stressed that Gül actually faced two lawsuits. �The suit for damages is one thing; the penal case against him is another. Gül cannot argue that he certainly will be pardoned because people with similar conditions were. �
Gül had also raised controversy recently for lifting former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan's house arrest after he was convicted in conjunction with the same lawsuit. The president was accused of trying to save himself from a penalty as well.
Regarding his pardoning of former RP leader Erbakan, the statement said Gül only lifted Erbakan's house arrest but not the fine he had to pay.
Meanwhile, main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, parliamentary group deputy leader Hakkı Suhe Okay argued yesterday that Gül prevented the Finance Ministry from appealing the case to the Supreme Court of Appeals.