ANKARA - The chief prosecutor applied to the Justice Ministry yesterday to annul a lower level court’s decision that opened the way to prosecute President Abdullah Gül over a fraud case dating back to the 1990s.
As the Justice Ministry has no authority to evaluate the case, it will send it to the 11th chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals to overrule the earlier ruling for the interest of the public.
In the criminal case in question, known as the "lost trillion case," the administration of the now-defunct Welfare Party, or RP, was accused of embezzling 1 trillion Turkish Liras (equivalent to 1 million liras today) by forging documents in 1997. The leader of the party at the time, Necmettin Erbakan, and several party executives were imprisoned for the roles they played in the incident. Gül, who was the RP's deputy chairman responsible for foreign relations at the time, did not face trial because he had been re-elected as a deputy, thereby becoming immune from prosecution.
No links to finance
However, experts say that even if he was tried he would have been acquitted because his duties in the party had nothing to do with financial affairs. Other party executives who did not handle financial affairs, such as Şevket Kazan, Recai Kutan and Oğuzhan Asiltürk, have all been acquitted. The deputy chairman and general accountant of the party were also acquitted.
Legal experts generally believe it would prove very difficult to start a trial against a serving president.