Judiciary in internal fight over the Ergenekon probe .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ANKARA - The Ergenekon probe is dominated by the police rather than judiciary, says the judges and prosecutors association president, while Minister Şahin says the legislative, executive and judicial organs don’t interfere with one other

The country’s justice and prosecutors’ association has incurred the wrath of Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin,who criticized them for their handling of the controversial Ergenekon probe. "The Judges and Prosecutors Association, (or YARSAV), has turned into the Judges and Prosecutors Party. Such remarks (about the Ergenekon probe) came from the main opposition party leader, Deniz Baykal, but today we heard them from YARSAV President Ömer Faruk Eminağaoğlu," said Şahin, speaking to journalists yesterday.

"I do not intervene in the judicial process. It is something that is conducted by the independent judicial institutions. As the justice minister, neither I nor others can intervene in such judicial processes," he said, and added that there was a separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial organs in Turkey and that they did not interfere in each other’s affairs.

Yesterday, the Justice Ministry and YARSAV challenged each other in a battle of words. YARSAV President Eminağaoğlu held a press conference in Ankara yesterday and criticized the Justice Ministry and the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, for the handling of the Ergenekon investigation. He said the justice minister should not interfere in the Ergenekon probe and said the probe had begun to be conducted by the police, rather than the judiciary. "The police have taken a more effective role than the military judges in the probe. Without making a distinction between the police and the gendarme zone, the police saw themselves as the only authority and were made to intervene on every occasion," Eminağaoğlu said. He said investigations had begun to be carried out on the initiative of police, ignoring the fact that only the public prosecutors had the authority to carry out these probes, and that it was judges and prosecutors who had the right to examine seized documents, not the police.

Police take on more of a role than prosecutors
"The suspects are being spoken to by unauthorized police, even before the prosecutors, therefore the neutrality of the investigation has been seriously damaged. The Turkish Republic is not a police state and it will not be so," he said. Meanwhile, tension escalated yesterday in Ankara when Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin met Şahin leading to rumors the visit was related to the Ergenekon case. There were some media reports that a probe had been launched into the prosecutors of the Ergenekon case and Engin was thus summoned to Ankara. But both the prosecutor and Şahin denied the allegations and said the meeting was a routine one.

Head of the Supreme Court of Appeals, Hasan Gerçeker, meanwhile, declined to comment on the investigation yesterday, and said, "Any statement would harm the Supreme Court of Appeals as the case will come to our court when the local court gives its verdict." The court’s president’s board held an extraordinary meeting last week regarding the Ergenekon investigation but no official statement was released.