October 31, 2014

AK Party brings back internal enemy card to divert attention

In open contradiction with its history and past promises, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government is getting ready to denounce the faith based Hizmet movement as a national security threat in the latest meeting of the National Security Council (MGK) under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday in Ankara.

Erdoğan's months-long smear campaign against the Hizmet movement has already become well known both at home and abroad since massive corruption allegations allegedly including Erdoğan's family broke out on Dec. 17 and 25. The Hizmet movement has been deemed responsible for the judicial investigations, since then Erdoğan has been calling the movement a “parallel structure,” a state within the state, although no concrete evidence has been presented to support his arguments.

Erdoğan recently announced that the Hizmet movement will be included on the list of national security threats, which is often referred as the “red booklet,” that is updated by the MGK. When he was prime minister of the AK Party government, Erdoğan criticized the existence of the “red booklet” on March 26, 2013 as a source of “artificial threats” to place pressure on society. For years the red booklet included “reactionary movements” as a domestic threat to suppress religious movements in the country and to justify antidemocratic measures taken against them especially during the post Feb. 28 coup era.

Erdoğan had argued that the red booklet existed for the sake of social engineering, to create fear to justify acts against reactionary movements and separatism. “We removed their red booklet,” Erdoğan said. Now it seems as if he is trying to return it.

Criticizing Erdoğan's attempt to use the MGK for his own political purposes, Deputy Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Oktay Viral said on Thursday that Erdoğan coined the term “parallel structure” to cover up the corruption investigations that were made public on Dec. 17 and 25. He urged the MGK to fight against real and concrete threats such as the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) instead of creating ghost enemies.

Another leading AK Party member, then Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Cemil Çiçek also criticized the “red booklet” following a MGK meeting on Nov. 22, 2010. He said that no group that is part of the nation should be considered a threat to the nation and that is impossible to be defined legally can be included in this document.

Law professor: No such norm as ‘Red Book'

Professor İzzet Özgenç, one of the main authors of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK), has criticized recent developments surrounding the National Security Policy Document, also known as the “Red Book.”

Özgenç stated that there is no place for the “Red Book,” a national security document in which major threats against the nation are enumerated, within the guidelines of the Constitution. The law professor added that there could only be one reason as to why government officials are concerned over a document whose content and nature is unclear, and why they see it as a source of authority. “Turkey is not yet a state [that follows the rule] of law,” Özgenç explained.

In a series of tweets, Özgenç stated the following via his social media account yesterday: “These days, the National Security Policy Document -- or the document also known as the ‘Red Book' -- is being mentioned with frequency. The Constitution lists the ‘State of Law' as one of the characteristics of the Turkish Republic [Article 2]. The National Security Policy Document is not stated as one of the norms of the State of Law. Even if not a ‘norm,' there is no provision within the Constitution that orders the preparation or organization of this document, [about] which we, as citizens or even scientists, have no knowledge regarding the content. What the ‘Red Book,' found only in the hands of those concerned, is used for is unknown by us. The only reason why government officials have become concerned over this document, with its unclear nature and content, and see it as a source of authority can be this: The Turkish Republic is not yet a state of law.”

According to a 2010 report by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), a prominent think tank, the National Security Policy Document is a top secret document which lacks legal basis but in which the principles of domestic, foreign and defensive action are identified by the Cabinet based on the recommendations of the National Security Council (MGK).

President Erdoğan recently signaled that the faith-based Hizmet movement might be declared a terrorist group in the National Security Policy Document.

Published on Today's Zaman, 30 October 2014, Thursday