August 4, 2014

Gov't ready to round up 500,000 people in investigation

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, which has been pursuing a campaign against what it calls the "parallel structure," is ready to detain hundreds of thousands of people in stadiums, as happened in the country's historical coups d'état, the editor-in-chief of a daily has written.

Habertürk Editor-in-Chief Fatih Altaylı wrote on Sunday that a prosecutor had called on him to testify as a victim in an investigation into the "parallel structure." Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan began speaking about this "parallel structure" after the breaking of an investigation into alleged government corruption. He has accused members of the "parallel structure" within the judiciary and the police force of trying to overthrow his government. He has also said that the "parallel structure" is the Hizmet movement, a religious movement based on the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Altaylı reported the prosecutor as saying that this "parallel structure" had wiretapped the editor-in-chief's phones. He also reported that the structure had attempted to link Altaylı to the Ergenekon terrorist organization. Altaylı further stated that he would file a complaint against the structure himself.

He claimed to have had a long conversation with the prosecutor, who reportedly said: “We will take this affair to the very end. This has now become a national security matter. It is rooted abroad; it is a structure that is not national. They have very different objectives.”

Altaylı said in response that the Hizmet movement has done great work by opening Turkish schools abroad, though he noted that its heavy presence in the police force and the judiciary could be due to the practices of the AK Party government. He also said it would be nearly impossible to finish off such a powerful movement.

The prosecutor confidently said: “Remember Sept. 12 [the 1980 coup]. Five hundred thousand people were detained at that time. Thousands of people were taken before the courts. The state can do this again to protect itself, if need be.”

The European Union has criticized the government's witch hunt against the Hizmet movement, while Erdoğan has failed to produce any evidence to support his claims that the Hizmet movement has any connection to shadowy groups trying to overthrow the government.

More recently, the prime minister has also claimed that opposition parties and other segments of society that do not agree with his government's views are part of the "parallel structure."

Published on Today's Zaman, 04 August 2014, Monday