Ankara chief prosecutor demands blocking of ‘Gulenist media'

Turkey’s Ankara Chief Prosecution Office demands Turksat General Directorate to block ‘parallel state’ media because of alleged illegal activities

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Turkey’s Ankara Chief Prosecution Office demands Turksat General Directorate, a government satellite communication portal, to block “parallel state” media.

Ankara Chief Prosecution Office reasons that the “parallel state” media is a propaganda tool for the Gulen Movement which aims to take over political system in favor of its own community at the expense of national sovereignty. 

The Gulen Movement, which is led by Fethullah Gulen - a US based preacher of Turkish origin- is accused by the Turkish government of establishing and leading a “parallel state,” composed of a network of followers who have allegedly infiltrated the judiciary, police force, and other state agencies to control these institutions.

The movement is under scrutiny for their involvement to state affairs in Turkey in several investigations such as KPSS, MIT trucks, and illegal wiretapping. 

The probe connected to KPSS alleges that members of the Gulen Movement were involved in the leakage of the exam questions and the distribution of questions to their followers in order to place their adherents in key government institutions.

The investigation over the MIT trucks case involving the interception of the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MIT) trucks directed to Syria in 2014 has been launched as a part of the “parallel state” probe which detained dozens of police officers and the reassignment of hundreds of other officers across Turkey.

The illegal wiretapping probe concerns allegations of espionage and illegal wiretapping by the Turkish police force of people including high ranking government officials, politicians, bureaucrats, academics, journalists, and businessmen.

Turkey’s Minister of Defence Ismet Yilmaz had confirmed on Wednesday that investigations have been launched into over a thousand staff after Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) received complaints alleging their involvement with the “parallel state.”

The chief prosecutor's office requested in its demand letter that, “While certain state organs have taken action against the organized structure as a terrorist organization, in terms of rule of law, it will be a contradiction that the mentioned structure could freely benefit from government facilities.”

The chief prosecutor office, saying “government facilities,” refers to the state owned Turksat’s service provided to the Gulenist media to make its broadcasting possible.  

The demand letter stated the investigations on the “parallel state” members, who are accused of committing crimes of political and military espionage by illegal wiretapping, has reverberated in public opinion. 

The movement is also accused for trying to overthrow the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) through the alleged judicial coup attempt on Dec. 17-25. Gülen Movement denies allegations.

The letter said, “[The Gulen movement] named as ‘parallel state’ has continued its activities under the guise of a religious community for years, and it is a terrorist organization.” 

The letter also said the organization has actively been seeking to oust government using branches of state’s legitimate powers by its members and violating constitutional rule to establish a “community” [cemaat] dictatorship parallel to the elected legitimate government. 

“The armed [Gulenist] terrorist organization has wished to establish a parallel political power against national sovereignty to pave the way for a community based sovereignty,” the letter claimed. 

The letter also alleged that the aforementioned organization has pretended as if its organised crimes are ordinary things and tried to rally public support for the organization. The letter stated, “Fethullah Gulen, establishing the terrorist organisation, and forcibly attempting to break constitutional rule, and oust the government, has spread his message and orders to the organisation through the media organs held by the organization.”

The letter said, the organization exploiting religion for secret purposes has deceived and misused a community’s members and tried to shape the Turkish society to serve its aims in a hierarchically organized and disciplined way. 

The chief prosecutor’s office emphasised that the Gulenist media in its many programs has targeted prosecutors and judges assigned to investigate the organization’s activities and allowed its pundits to make certain statements, beyond reasonable criticism, creating hate and enmity in the Turkish society. 

The chief prosecutor urged Turksat to prevent the Gulen Movement from using state facilities for television and radio broadcasts, internet websites, and other visual and printed publications held by the organization. 

In Turkey, since the Ergenekon trials which tried and convicted numerous journalists of planning a military coup against the Turkish government, there has been a public debate on the activities of judiciary and justice system and their connections to the Gulen movement. 

The defendants in the Ergenekon trials claim that the activities of the courts which convicted them were connected to the Gulen movement and that they were also targeted by the Gulen media because they were perceived as a threat to the Movement. 

Speaking at a joint press conference with EU commissioner for European enlargement negotiations Johannes Hahn, and Minister of EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır in Brussels on Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, “No journalist in Turkey is jailed because of media activities.”

He stated that freedom of press is very important, but journalists are not immune from being charged with other crimes they might commit, just because they are journalists.

TRTWorld and agencies