July 21, 2014

Police chief says Hizmet operation to come before Eid

Former head of the İstanbul Police Department's financial crimes unit Yakup Saygılı has said he has heard rumors that the Justice and Development (AK Party) government is planning to launch an operation against members of the Hizmet movement before the Eid al-Fitr, which will begin on July 28.

Saygılı was expelled from the police force after the Dec. 17 corruption investigation.

“They [AK Party officials] know that they will not benefit from the fruits of an operation [against Hizmet] if the operation comes after Eid,” Saygılı stated in a statement he posted on Twitter. He did not disclose the source of the rumors of the planned operation.

He further said he is not afraid of the operation, which he said will be launched by “men who sell information to Israel, who fabricate evidence and who beg the Foundation of Youth and Education in Turkey [TÜRGEV] for a seat,” but did not elaborate.

According to Saygılı, the prestige of the prime minister and his AK Party has suffered from a significant loss recently, particularly after an investigation into bugging devices allegedly planted in the prime minister's office ended in a “fiasco” and due to the government's inability to stop the ongoing bloodshed in Gaza.

“They need to divert people's attention before the presidential election [in August],” he said, and added that for this to happen, the prime minister has ordered a swift operation against Hizmet.

The police chief said the prime minister will use the operation to harden his discourse against his critics during his presidential bid. “The prime minister will tell the public in election rallies that many [criminal] documents were seized [at Hizmet members' houses] during the operation. Yes, this operation will be staged to add a paragraph to the prime minister's speech. This operation will be staged because the prime minister had promised that an operation would be staged against Hizmet,” Saygılı noted.

He also said the government hopes an operation against Hizmet will make people forget about corruption and bribery claims against government officials.

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