Turkey aims to retrieve fugitive ex-prosecutors
Zekeriya Oz and Celal Kara, facing arrest over alleged involvement in 2013 anti-graft probe, allegedly crossed into neighboring Armenia
The chief public prosecutor's office in Bakirkoy district of Istanbul has sent a request to the Turkish Ministry of Justice on Wednesday to begin the process to retrieve ex-prosecutors Zekeriya Oz and Celal Kara who allegedly crossed into neighboring Armenia.
The message sent to the Ministry of Justice aims to trigger a process to issue, through the Turkish Foreign Ministry, an international arrest warrant of the two alleged fugitives.
A criminal court in Turkey on Monday issued arrest warrants for the two former prosecutors, Zekeriya Oz and Celal Kara, over their alleged involvement in a 2013 anti-graft probe targeting Turkey's senior Cabinet members.
Oz and Kara, and a third ex-prosecutor, Mehmet Yuzgec, were accused of "forming an organization to commit crime" and "attempting to overthrow the government by use of force" in a plot allegedly masterminded by U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.
The Turkish government has denounced the 2013 probe as a "dirty plot" allegedly constructed by "parallel state" -- a purported clandestine group of Turkish bureaucrats and senior officials embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and police.
According to Istanbul police, Oz and Kara left Turkey for Georgia early Monday. They later crossed into neighboring Armenia, the governor of Turkey's northeastern province of Artvin told Anadolu Agency without providing additional details as to the source of the intel.
Although Turkey and Armenia have no bilateral agreements on the extradition of criminals, Ankara can still ask Yerevan to hand over the two individuals under the European Convention on Extradition to which both countries are signatory, according to the data provided by the ministry's bureau on international law and foreign relations.
Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic ties and they have kept their common border closed for more than two decades amid the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh -- a controversial territory between Azerbaijan and Armenia -- and the dispute over the 1915 events in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, which the Armenian diaspora and government describe as "genocide” -- which Turkey refutes.
Last Modified: 2015-08-13 08:58:06
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