Turkey: Ex-prosecutors facing arrest cross into Armenia

Two of three former prosecutors facing arrest over role in 2013 graft probe had left Turkey early Monday

Turkey: Ex-prosecutors facing arrest cross into Armenia

ARTVIN, Turkey

 Two of three former Turkish prosecutors facing arrest for a graft probe they had allegedly conducted in 2013 have crossed into Armenia via Georgia, a Turkish official said Tuesday.

Zekeriya Oz and Celal Kara, who, according to Istanbul police, had left Turkey for Georgia early Monday, "later crossed into neighboring Armenia," Artvin Governor Kemal Cirit told Anadolu Agency without providing additional details as to the source of intelligence. 

An Istanbul court had ordered Monday the arrest of Oz, Kara as well as Mehmet Yuzgec, who were dismissed for misconduct over their alleged involvement in a 2013 graft probe targeting Turkey's senior government officials.

"Oz and Kara left Turkey via [Artvin's] Sarp Border Gate [with Georgia] at 3.46 a.m. [0046GMT], and 04:19 am Monday respectively, long before the arrest order," Cirit said, adding that an investigation has been launched into the incident.

The court's decision Monday came several hours after Bakirkoy Chief Public Prosecutor's office demanded that arrest warrants be issued for the ex-prosecutors, who are accused of "forming an organization to commit crime" and "attempting to overthrow the government by use of force".

In December 2014, the three prosecutors were suspended in an investigation into their alleged role in the anti-graft probe the previous year against several high-profile figures, including the sons of three former government ministers and leading Turkish businessmen.

The three were dismissed in May 2015 in accordance with an article that states that judges and prosecutors are to be dismissed from duty if their acts damage the honor of their profession and of the reputation of their public post.

The government had denounced the 2013 probe as a "dirty plot" constructed by the U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen’s movement and his alleged "parallel state" -- a purported group of Turkish bureaucrats and senior officials embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and police, who are allegedly trying to undermine the Turkish government.

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