Court of Cassation member Yüksel Kocaman, who has been accused of receiving a lavish villa and a car as gifts from arrested crime boss Ayhan Bora Kaplan, a figure purportedly associated with former Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, has firmly denied these allegations and claimed that Soylu was the real target of these “operations.”
Kaplan on Sept. 8 was arrested on charges of leading an organized crime group shortly after his attempt to leave the country was thwarted.
Speaking to Halk TV, Kocaman, who is also a former Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor, said that he came from a wealthy family and did not need such bribes. “Someone from the police department (purposely) served the interview of Kaplan to the press,” he added.
The crime boss himself allegedly mentioned the high court member’s name during an “unofficial” police interview.
Kocaman also admitted that he had met with Kaplan one evening and stated that the crime boss wanted the police operations against him to be stopped, yet he replied, “Turkey is a state of law.”
Kaplan on Sept. 8 was detained in the airport.
Kocaman attributed the operation against Kaplan to the fromer Minister Soylu and said, “There is an operation here from the beginning. Maybe you won’t like it, but I think there is an operation against Süleyman Soylu. I am surprised by this style of the police. These things may be liked by some people but this is a state of law.”
The high court member stated that he had never met the prosecutor who conducted the investigation into Kaplan, and claimed, “However, it seems that there are still crypto-Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) members in the police department and they are trying to wear down the process by leaking information during the investigation phase.”
Kaplan is described as a “mafia” according to police records and was part of the team that accompanied Soylu with rifles to the state television building in Ankara during the coup attempt in 2016.
In the book titled Duvar (The Wall), written by Labour Party of Turkey (TİP) MP Ahmet Şık and journalists Bahadır Özgür, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Hakkı Özdal and Timur Soykan, it is stated that rival mafia groups in capital Ankara collapsed with the operations after 2016 when Soylu came to power, paving the way for Kaplan’s rise.
Kaplan flees due to ‘change in conjuncture in police and courts,’ police reports state
In the police report prepared after the detention of the crime boss, it was stated that Kaplan’s influence within both the judicial and law enforcement systems has waned due to “recent changes in conjuncture,” according to reporting of online news outlet T24.
As a result, there is a belief that the criminal organization he is suspected of leading may lead to the exposure of past criminal activities. Additionally, the report highlights the closure of a previous investigation file without any action taken, suggesting the suspect’s exploitation of his legal connections.
The police report stated, “It has been understood that the criminal organization he established in the past has acquired a large amount of wealth from criminal acts. Furthermore, he has established close ties with the courthouse and the police through the mediation of his lawyer. Thanks to these connections, he has obtained information about the judicial proceedings that may occur against him and has been acting accordingly.”
After the appointment of Ali Yerlikaya as Interior Minister in 2023 after Soylu, many changes were made especially in the police ranks and bureaucratic staff.
Ankara 3rd Criminal Judgeship of Peace ordered the arrest of Kaplan and 13 other alleged members of the organization. The police chief and a former police officer detained within the scope of the operation were released under judicial control measures.
Kocaman who visited President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after he got married in 2020 has been appointed to Turkey’s Court of Cassation by the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK).
Kocaman is also the plaintiff in a case against Selahattin Demirtaş, former co-chair of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), claiming that Demirtaş had threatened him during a hearing.