On 12 January 2018, on the date when the Turkish Constitutional Court issued its verdict decreeing that the rights of Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay have been violated due to their unlawful detention, while the related lower level Criminal Court “nullified” this verdict by not obeying it, Erdogan was putting a new issue he detected to the agenda while giving a lesson of justice (!) at the “Council of Justice”:
“We have been working to establish justice for 15 years, knowing all the difficulties. In this field, we have completed the biggest reforms in the history of our republic, from renewing the fundamental laws to constructing court buildings with traditional architecture, and to launching the National Judiciary Network UYAP. But we could not achieve one thing: We gave the rein of a very important technology, a mechanism like UYAP –this is a self-criticism– unfortunately to the FETÖists. There they used this network very ruthlessly for their devious aims and from there, they conducted that really the greatest atrocity.” (http://www.milliyet.com.tr/UYAP-i-maalesef-feto-culere-siyaset-2588819/).
We all now know about Erdogan’s “justice” perception that has elevated from “I do not respect them” to “I do not recognise them” meaning the judicial decrees of independent judges. But from this speech, we have newly learnt that Erdogan has also got a problem with the electronic side of the justice, namely, e-adalet (UYAP).
Meanwhile, in the same speech, as soon as Erdogan said that, “We established UYAP and then gave its rein to FETÖists, and they comMİTted all kinds of atrocity over UYAP system,” all of the pro-government and some extreme nationalist media were as pleased as Punch and straightaway rolled their sleeves up to fill inside this claim. Nobody, however, has asked, what kind of atrocity was conducted by means of UYAP? If someone intended to comMİT an unlawful, lawless, judicial crime, they would do it clandestinely, and cannot do such a thing over a system like UYAP where all the evidence are recorded and all information is open to all parties of lawsuits. But who would bother to think about this? The important thing for them was that Erdogan made the remark; and if he thought and understood, there is no need for anyone else to think over and understand.
I, however, want to think and am asking this question: Are Erdogan’s claims right?
In this article, I will try to put forward with real evidence whether Erdogan’s statements and the allegations publicised by the mentioned media based on these statements of Erdogan are true or not.
- Did Erdogan really set up UYAP and then lose it to FETÖists?
UYAP is an information system, created as part of the e-transformation of the state, that automates all internal software and hardware of all the central and auxiliary, civil, criminal and administrative judiciary units, which are connected to the central and provincial structure of the Ministry of Justice, and integrates this system to external units by utilising all necessary technological advancements of today. (http://www.UYAP.gov.tr/Genel-Bilgi)
The initial steps of the UYAP Project were taken in 1998, before the AKP came to power. The project has been continued after the AKP won the general elections and in 2005, it started to be used by all the administrative and judicial units of the state. (http://www.UYAP.gov.tr/Tarihce).
UYAP has been awarded as the most successful project by many foreign and national institutions, primarily the United Nations and the European Union. (http://www.UYAP.gov.tr/UYAP-Odulleri).
All of the judges, who had directed every stage of the UYAP system from its establishment to its popularisation and spent tremendous efforts for the system to receive international awards, have been dismissed from their judicial positions in the period before and after the 17-25 December corruption investigations.
In short, UYAP, which was established for giving fast judicial services in a safe, electronic medium, has later become “a state project” thanks to the efforts of the later-dismissed judges and other project partners (HAVELSAN, etc.).
- Did AKP face with an operation over UYAP?
Pro-government media is broadcasting desk-bound news just to fill inside Erdogan’s allegations. Sabah newspaper, for example, published:
“…Following the judicial coup operations conducted against the Government on 17-25 December, FETÖ has controlled all the operations of the state by means of UYAP system, created by the software engineers who are thrown out from TUBİTAK and from the Turkish Army and engineers from Sürat Informatics. All of the FETÖists who occupied 10 percent of HAVELSAN have been cleared out only last year. President Erdogan’s drawing attention to UYAP being seized by FETÖists at the Council of Justice held the other day, has turned the eyes on HAVELSAN. It has been revealed that the state’s strategic software programs at HAVELSAN have been places of refuge for FETÖists even after the 17-25 December operation.”. (https://www.sabah.com.tr/gundem/2018/01/12/UYAPin-arkasindan-havelsan-cikti).
Let us briefly explain the errors in this “news”: It is claimed that UYAP was created by the software engineers started to work at HAVELSAN after the 17-25 December 2013 corruption investigation. UYAP, however, was established in 2005 –as it was explained under the first heading above. How on earth can the software engineers allegedly infiltrated into HAVELSAN in the beginning of 2014 create already existing UYAP and control the operations?
On the other hand, the statement given by HAVELSAN in reply to these news also attests that HAVELSAN had not have any activity related to UYAP since 2013. On 12 January 2018, HAVELSAN issued this press statement:
“Our institution is openly targeted with the news published on 12 January 2018 by various media organs, titled, ‘HAVELSAN is behind UYAP’. The first project for UYAP to be developed by HAVELSAN was signed in 2000 and the development, insurance and maintenance agreements of the whole system were completed in 2013. After this year, the system has been fully handed over to the Ministry of Justice. Following 2013, HAVELSAN has been discharged from the system completely, and no contribution or support regarding the maintenance, operation and continuance of the system has been requested from HAVELSAN since then.” (http://www.milscint.com/tr/havelsan-UYAP-ile-ilgili-basin-aciklamasi-yapti).
- Claims that judges and prosecutors have been tapped with UYAP
After Erdogan’s allegations about UYAP, having captured the opportunity of its lifetime, odatv has carried the claim even further by implying that the so-called FETÖists have wiretapped the judges and prosecutors over the UYAP system, in its news below:
“In August 2016, upon hearing what had been talked in his office at his computer a few seconds later, Bakırköy prosecutor Tamer Can has been suspicious about being secretly listened and his computer being remotely controlled, and prepared a report regarding the incidence. According to specialist Mehmet Güçlü, ‘The computers connected to the UYAP system could be remotely accessed, their microphones could be activated and the sounds in the medium where the computer is, could be listened and this was a horrifying possibility.’ In the investigations conducted especially after the July 15 coup attempt, many officials have been dismissed from the Data Processing Department of the Ministry of Justice, which is ‘the owner’ of UYAP. It was such a degree that the head of the department has also been detained for being from FETÖ.” (https://odatv.com/odatv-yargidaki-cok-kritik-supheyi-acikliyor–1201181200.html).
To summarise, the prosecutor suspects that he is listened from the computer in his office, and because the computer is linked to the UYAP system and because the head of the department, responsible for UYAP, has been detained after July 15, this incident, too, is landed on FETÖ.
Let us briefly explain the faults in this news, too. M.O., the Head of the Data Processing Department of the Ministry of Justice, who is said to be detained, had been discharged from his office on 9 April 2013, that is, 3 years 4 months before the alleged incidence. After this date, on the other hand, the department was first directed by Cengiz Ünsal, who is known by his pro-AKP personality, and 9 months after, Servet Gül –another government-supporter– has been appointed to the head of this department. (http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/adalet-bakanliginda-gorev-degisikligi-23007099).
After the Pro-AKP judges have been appointed to the management of UYAP, all other judges have been dismissed. According to what is talked at the judiciary backstages, the dismissed judges had objected the corruption proceedings of the Ministers to be deleted from the UYAP system. Although all the proceedings related to the 17-25 December corruption investigations had been conducted over UYAP, the AKP wanted to forge a report saying, “The investigation has not been conducted over UYAP”. All of the judges who had rejected this request have been displaced from their posts by 2014. (http://t24.com.tr/haber/adalet-bakanliginda-operasyon-hakimden-kurtulus-savasi-mesaji,250596).
As well as three years having passed over these displacements, the owner of the system since it has started to operate, has been the Ministry of Justice, namely the AKP. Nevertheless, instead of directing the claim of tapping to the present directors and officials, and examining the infected computers and carrying out investigations at the centre of UYAP to reveal the actual truth, with the support of the media, the blame of the incidence has again been shifted to so-called FETÖ and the real target is distorted. Thus, while the file related to the allegation of a prosecutor being secretly listened is remained “unsolved”, while the real culprits have been, once more, protected.
We should also remember that, with the order of AKP, a protocol was signed in 2013, between UYAP and the MİT (Turkish Intelligence) to install an electronic interconnection. In 2013, it has been discussed in the judicial environs that during the works for this protocol, some of the bureaucrats have opposed the idea of sharing judicial data, which mostly contain “personal information” because such a practice would not base on a “legal” ground. They said that pursuant to Article 16 of Law No. 5320, the decrees related to investigations and prosecutions must be sent to security forces (the police and gendarmerie), but there is not any regulation requiring that such information to be sent to the MİT. So, first a legal regulation must be made for such a data sharing. Even some of the pro-AKP senior judges, who are still on duty today, had presented similar written opinions about this issue. The then undersecretary Birol Erdem complained that the information about the case had been shared with also the police and gendarmerie units, and he stated that because of this, he discharged those oppose the protocol with the MİT from their posts, for being members of jamaat, only then it has been possible to sign that protocol. (https://odatv.com/erdoganin-soyleyemedigini-biz-soyleyelim-1001181200.html).
At this point, we need to ask the following questions:
- Which data, and in what way, does the Ministry of Justice share with the MİT by using UYAP?
- What are the limits of the MİT’s authority to one-way access to the UYAP system?
- Has the MİT got right to access to personal computers, linked to the UYAP system?
- Does MİT secretly listen to all judges, prosecutors, solicitors, and all other concerned persons from either the computers linked to the UYAP network or their connected personal computers?
- Why is the investigation mentioned in this news especially made failed and left unsolved? (http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/m/haber/turkiye/766696/MİT_e_UYAPhtml).
- What is behind Erdogan’s claims against UYAP? What is needed to do to prevent the evidence and documents recorded on UYAP from being deleted?
Let us conclude our writing by listing the possibilities that may lie behind Erdogan’s allegations about UYAP, he suddenly mentioned for no reason at all.
As it is known, After Hakan Atilla has been found guilty by the jury in the USA, there is an ever growing anxiety on the AKP side about the 17-25 December corruption investigations. They even detained the wives of the police chiefs, who were on duty during these investigations. The police chiefs themselves have been re-trialled, and even tortured, to learn whether they played any role in sending out evidence to the USA. Meanwhile, all of the evidence related to the 17-25 December investigations are recorded on the UYAP system.
Is Erdogan Government think to destroy all the evidence of the files that trouble Erdogan in national and international arenas, such as 17-25 December, MİT trucks, İzmir Customs Corruption, and delete them unrecoverably from the UYAP database?
In order to lay the ground for this aim, by creating an agenda alleging that that there is a FETÖ finger in UYAP who infiltrated into the system from HAVELSAN, are they planning to give the maintenance of the system from HAVELSAN to a “trustable” pro-AKP company who will help them get rid of, or tamper with, all the “unwanted” evidence present in the system?
As we see the interest of Erdoğan’s Secretary General Fahri KASIRGA’s sons’ informatics company on UYAP and POLNET, we can now say “Why not,” to this possibility. (http://m.haberdar.com/gundem/secim-sandiklari-vatandasin-ve-devletin-mahremi-kasirga-ya-emanet-h47892.html).
As he had already taken many things under his direct control, does Erdogan want to link this system, too, to the mechanism he will establish under his palace and he will be the sole director of this system?
As a thinking person, I can ask many more fair questions. It is actually the rightful duty of every citizen to search for reality and ask straight questions, rather than running behind the agenda created by Erdogan and accepting his claims without putting them through a thorough criticism. Because, in the end, UYAP is a mechanism that protects everyone’s personal data and this concerns everyone.
At this point, a great responsibility and important duties fall on the opposition parties and NGOs to stop the Erdogan government from destroying the evidence against them by intervening in this system, prevent more unfair wealth to be gained from unlawful government tenders, and protect the citizens’ data from being captured with this wildcat government that does everything with the absolute power it seized.
The opposition parties can, for example, secure electronic or physical copies of all the documents and evidence in the (closed) case files regarding the AKP’s corrupt actions and illegal weapon transportation by means of their lawyers; ask parliamentary questions asking whether they committed any action related to deleting these files from UYAP, whether they tampered with the logs of these files, whether they procured the tenders for the UYAP system’s software packages to pro-AKP companies, and learn the limits of the authority given to MİT to have access into the UYAP database. Meanwhile, they can, and must, follow this agenda very closely by making other related researches. This will also be the depiction of their loyalty to their constituency who imparted to them the responsibility of fulfilling the opposition duty.