An influential, anti-Semitic government figure who helped President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan undermine the independent judiciary in Turkey visited Iran last year to speak with key judicial figures to further promote cooperation between the two countries.
Şeref Malkoç, the chief ombudsman at Turkey’s Public Monitoring Institution (KDK), which oversees complaints against public agencies, met with half a dozen Iranian officials in Tehran during a visit last year, Nordic Monitor has learned. Malkoç, a pro-Iranian Islamist politician, served as chief advisor to Erdoğan before he was tapped to run the KDK. He and his son-in-law Abdulhamit Gül, Turkey’s justice minister, were among the key architects in redesigning the judiciary after a mass purge of over 4,000 judges and prosecutors, to be replaced by Islamists.
Malkoç was hosted by head of the Iranian General Inspection Office Nasser Saraj in Tehran. He also met with Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i, the first deputy of the chief justice of Iran, the second-highest official in Iran’s judiciary. Mohseni-Eje’i, a conservative politician, judge and prosecutor, served as the minister of intelligence from August 2005 to July 2009.
Masoud Karbasian, the then-minister of finance who was later sacked in a vote of confidence in Parliament, and Davood Mohammedi, the chair of the Committee on Petitions in Iran’s Parliament, and Mohammad Javad Shari’at Bagheri, president of the University of Judicial Sciences and Administrative Services, which trains most judges and lawyers in Iran, were among the Iranian officials who met with Turkey’s chief ombudsman.
Many believe Erdoğan is following the Iranian playbook in transforming the Turkish judiciary and staffing the posts with hard-line conservatives from Islamist and neo-nationalist factions. The Erdoğan government removed many senior members of the judiciary, including top members of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeals on dubious charges and jailed them in long pre-trial detentions, where they were subjected to torture and ill treatment. According to official figures, some 30 percent of all judges and prosecutors in Turkey were dismissed, among them prominent prosecutors who had investigated the clandestine network of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force in Turkey.
Malkoç and his son-in-law Gül are Islamist politicians whose origins are rooted in the religious Welfare Party (RP), set up by the late Nemettin Erbakan, the founding father of political Islam in Turkey. The party is overtly pro-Iran, and Erbakan repeatedly paid visits to Iran just like his protégée Erdoğan, who publicly described Iran as his second home. Malkoç, known to be an anti-Semitic politician, once told the audience in a TV interview how Jews produce all terrorism in the world and secretly rule it and the global economy.