September 15, 2014

Family and Social Policy Ministry profiling own personnel

According to documents acquired by Today's Zaman, the Ministry of Family and Social Policy has added another level to illegal profiling practices of the Turkish state by giving people within the ministry a special code if they are thought to be affiliated with the Hizmet movement.

Reminiscent of the single-party era, when non-Muslim citizens of Turkey were classified with the codes 1, 2 and 3 for being Greek, Armenian or Jewish, respectively, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has designated "111" to classify people who are allegedly close to the Hizmet movement, which is inspired by the teachings of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

A team within the Ministry of Family and Social Policy led by the undersecretary has profiled all personnel within the ministry and created documents detailing their political, social and religious affiliations. Although profiling became a constitutional crime with the Sept. 12, 2010, referendum, this new act of profiling has recently taken place.

In one example, a regional director within the ministry, called M.A., is among the names of those categorized with the code 111. His previous posts and his alignment with the Hizmet movement have been taken note of in one of the profiling documents. A note about his successful communication skills was also included. However, ministry profiling is not limited to handing out the 111 code. People from all walks of life have been categorized. Bureaucrat İ.U. is listed as “handicapped” and A.D. was vaguely noted as having a "problematic character." It was also written that H.B. made negative comments about the AK Party and M.A. was noted as being married to the niece of Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek.

Another regional director within the ministry, H.Ö.Y, has been accused of having “deep ties with 111” meaning the Hizmet movement, in one of the documents.

Another aspect of the profiling that caught public interest was the interesting use of mathematics in one document. A provincial director at the ministry, İ.Z, is described as competent, but it was also written that there is an 80 percent chance he has no 111 connection. It remains unclear how the ministry reached such a numerical conclusion.

The profiling led to criticism of the ministry on social media on Sunday, with some users joking that the government should just insert electronic chips into its citizens.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Chairman Sadir Durmaz said in a statement on Sunday that the AK Party government has been profiling everyone in an attempt to intimidate people. In reference to a report in the Taraf daily, Durmaz said that the government even profiled everyday citizens and small shop owners. The daily had reported that in Yozgat, bakery owners who support the opposition parties, including the MHP and the Republican People's Party (CHP), were profiled.

During the Feb. 28, 1997, postmodern coup, a body established by the military West Study Group (BÇG) had also carried out illegal activities that included profiling.

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 14 September 2014, Sunday

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