July 21, 2014

Plan to vilify Hizmet for cold cases gears up

Laying responsibility for unsolved criminal cases on the Hizmet movement is picking up pace; the most recent example of this came on Monday, when former National Police Department Intelligence Unit head Sabri Uzun accused former İstanbul Police Department Intelligence Bureau chief Ali Fuat Yılmazer of hiding intelligence reports regarding an assassination plot on Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007.

Yılmazer has never openly declared that he is affiliated with the Hizmet movement, but he has publicly praised the local and international services that Hizmet has been carrying out in the fields of education and interfaith dialogue.

In an eight-hour-long testimony to prosecutor Yusuf Hakkı Doğan, Uzun said a faction within the police had deliberately withheld an "F4 Intelligence Report" regarding preparations to murder Dink from him and the İstanbul Police Department. In the testimony minutes published by the Hürriyet daily on Monday, Uzun said provincial police department chiefs are obligated to send F4 Intelligence Reports to the National Police Department's Intelligence Unit. The F4 Intelligence Report concerning the Dink murder plot was sent by Ramazan Akyürek from Trabzon, but that the National Police Department's Intelligence Unit's "C-Branch" Directorate, which was headed by Yılmazer at the time, hid them on purpose.

Adem Yavuz Arslan, a columnist for the Bugün daily, who wrote a book on Dink's murder titled "Bi Ermeni Var" (There is an Armenian), told Today's Zaman that Uzun's words are not compatible with the facts, and that they clearly contradict previous remarks he made the issue. He recalled that in April 2010, Uzun said, “This deplorable event wouldn't have taken place if my note had been heeded.” Aslan points to the contradiction between these words and Uzun's testimony to Interior Ministry inspectors on Nov. 4, 2009, in which he said, “The Intelligence Unit [of the National Police Department] performed the procedures fully without any mistakes or negligence.”

Uzun has also accused Hizmet of plotting to remove him from his post. Arslan raises objections to this claim as well, pointing to the weakening relationship between Uzun and the military since November 2005, when Uzun drew a harsh reaction from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) over his comment that “a lock is useless if the thief is in the house” regarding a 2005 incident in which a bookshop in Şemdinli, Hakkari province was attacked with grenades. “As a matter of fact, Maj. Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt clearly asserted on TV that he had personally asked the prime minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] to discharge Uzun,” Arslan wrote.

The explosion at Umut bookstore in Şemdinli killed one and wounded another on Nov. 9, 2005. The public identified the perpetrators and formed a blockade outside the gendarmerie outpost there. The car used by the bombers had belonged to THE Gendarmerie Intelligence Organization (JİTEM), a clandestine gendarmerie intelligence unit established in the late 1980s to counter ethnic separatism in the Southeast.

Yılmazer rejected the accusations on his Twitter account on Monday. He said Uzun had served as the head of the intelligence department for three terms and that he had never sent any written request for a bodyguard for anyone. He accused Uzun of talking nonsense and stated that his claims were so inconsistent that the court did not pay heed to what he was saying. Yılmazer noted that he was not involved in any way with the F4 Intelligence Report that Uzun was talking about, and proved so by saying that he was in Iran with Uzun on an official visit when the report reached the bureau. Details concerning this document have been elaborated upon in a book by journalist Nazlı Ilıcak.

“Seeing as you are paying so much attention to Uzun's words, I will reveal the names of the officers in the intelligence department responsible for this paper [the F4 Intelligence Report],” said Yılmazer. He named Necmettin Emre, who was covering for Uzun while he was in Iran; National Police Department Intelligence Unity Deputy Director Vedat Yavuz and Bülent Demirel, who covered for Yılmazer while he was abroad. “These are the names that Uzun has accused [of hiding the report]; if Uzun thinks that hiding the paper was a crime, Emre should be held responsible for it,” he said.

Yılmazer added that Emre was the person who should have submitted the paper to Uzun upon his return to Turkey. His name has never been mentioned in the press, and he is presently serving as the head of the Inspection Committee, said Yılmazer, adding that this committee was primarily established to be utilized in the ongoing witch-hunt against the Hizmet movement. Yılmazer also criticized Hürriyet for running Uzun's groundless claims.

Yılmazer has gone through four investigations concerning the Dink murder and he was acquitted of negligence and malpractice in all of them. According to investigation reports, 11,328 similar reports were prepared between 2003 and 2010, none of which were submitted by Uzun. Also, some 24,000 people who had faced threats to their lives had been logged in the police's registry system; in none of those cases -- including the report about Dink -- was prior notice given to the head of the department.

Uzun, like many others, has claimed that a "parallel structure" within the state -- a term coined and used by Erdoğan in reference to the Hizmet movement after two graft probes late last year implicated several ministers affiliated with his government -- are attempting a coup against his government. Uzun said the Dink murder along with a number of other unidentified murders were plotted by an illicit power structure that is attempting to purge officials not cooperating with the government.

Uzun has further claimed that this structure is deceiving state institutions and officials, including President Abdullah Gül and the National Security Council (MGK), regarding the imminent threat of ultra-nationalist factions and gangs that must be taken out for the security of the state. To convince the public opinion, Uzun maintains, they have orchestrated horrible acts such as the murder of Dink. He claims that “the Dink murder was a fuse attached to explosions” like the Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup cases, the OdaTV and match-rigging cases, the trial of the Feb. 28 "Post-modern coup" architects, etc.

“No one is concerned with identifying the vicious networks behind the murders, and the exploitation [of these tragedies] is the peak of this. The government needed material to prop up its 'parallel structure' fibs, and Uzun needed to take revenge,” Arslan told Today's Zaman.

The National Police Department recently sent a written order to police departments in 30 provinces in which it accused the faith-based Hizmet movement of working to overthrow the government without providing any evidence. The order asked the police to inquire into whether the movement is an armed group. The order was dated June 25, but was covered by the media just this week. It was drafted by National Police Department Counterterrorism Unit head Turgut Aslan.

Published on Today's Zaman, 21 July 2014, Monday