July 8, 2014

Opposition highly critical of scandalous anti-Hizmet order

Members of the opposition parties have spoken out against an order for a police probe targeting the Hizmet movement that is to include leveling a number of fictitious accusations such as linking members of the movement with several infamous assassinations committed in Turkey in the recent past.

According to Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrıkulu, the order in question contains elements that call for false evidence against the Hizmet movement to be manufactured. “The order openly asks for the fabrication of false evidence [of crime] against Hizmet. Such an order cannot be accepted. They [the government] want to create an atmosphere of fear in society,” he stated on Monday in remarks for the SHaber TV station.

Tanrıkulu also described the order as unlawful and the fact that it was sent by a prosecutor or a police chief does not change anything. “The order should not be put into practice,” he noted. The CHP deputy chairman also said the order is an extension of a “hate policy” being pursued by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against some groups that refuse to bend to his will. “The prime minister considers anyone who does not bow to him an enemy. Turkey did not witness such times even during coup periods,” Tanrıkulu added.

Prime Minister Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has grown increasingly authoritarian, with the prime minister accusing all of his government's opponents of attempting to overthrow him. Erdoğan has made it clear that he will not tolerate dissent, saying that everyone must choose a side, or “risk elimination.” The government has been widely criticized for such things as reassigning tens of thousands of public officials believed to be members of the Hizmet movement and forgiving taxes owed by government-controlled media, but clamping down on publications that publish opinions that challenge the government.

Faruk Loğoğlu, also a deputy chairman for the main opposition CHP, called a press conference in Parliament on Monday and said he hopes the scandalous order will not be put into action or result in any unjust acts. “If politicians dare to use the law and the justice system for their political aspirations, then the rule of law no longer exists in that country. This is what we are witnessing in Turkey,” he said, and noted that his remarks refer to a general evaluation of things going on in Turkey and that the anti-Hizmet order is just one example.

Independent deputy İdris Bal, who parted his ways with the ruling AK Party in November 2013, said there have been rumors of a plot against the government for quite a while but what has been revealed is a dark plot against the Hizmet movement. The deputy also lashed out at government-sponsored efforts to define Hizmet as an armed group and link the movement to criminal organizations, saying, “Are you [government] looking for an armed group? That group is standing up in the Southeast [referring to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)]. But you [government] are not powerful enough to fight that armed group and so, instead, you are opting to fight against civil society groups,” he stated.

Another independent deputy, Hakan Şükür, who also resigned from the AK Party in December of last year due to disagreement with the party administration over a number of issues, wrote on Twitter on Monday that the police order against the Hizmet movement is reminiscent of the Feb. 28, 1997 coup period. “What's the difference between what people experienced in the Feb. 28 era and what they are experiencing today?” he asked. He noted that there is almost no difference, as a certain group of people, who are primarily conservatives, is being targeted with fictitious accusations.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Chairman Oktay Öztürk stated that the government's dark plans to put the blame for notorious assassinations on innocent people who are affiliated with the Hizmet movement will spell the end of the AK Party government. “If you fabricate evidence of a crime and then put the blame for that crime on others, it means that you share responsibility in that crime,” he said, adding that the government's attempt to link Hizmet with those assassinations will not achieve the objective but, instead, will push the government into a corner as they work to fabricate false evidence.

Oktay Vural, the MHP parliamentary group deputy chairman, said the police order targeting the Hizmet movement is not a judicial document but rather, it is a political one. “It is evident that the prosecutor's offices and the police have been receiving orders from the government [to launch an investigation of Hizmet]. These orders are not lawful. They seek to terrorize a certain segment of society,” he noted.

According to Vural, attempts to threaten society do not comply with the norms of a democratic state, but they exist in dictatorial regimes.

CHP deputy Atilla Kart said the government has pressed the button for a witch hunt and that it seeks to take revenge on the Hizmet movement for the Dec. 17, 2013 corruption and bribery operation.

Former Culture and Tourism Minister and incumbent independent deputy Ertuğrul Günay said the AK Party government has suspended the law since the graft operation of Dec. 17 and has been victimizing the Hizmet movement in order to protect its officials from accusations of corruption and bribery. “The AK party government has been involved in deeds that contradict the Turkish Constitution and universal laws,” he said.

Published on Today's Zaman, 07 July 2014, Monday