November 11, 2014

New memorandum: Cooperation between Hizmet movement and PKK?

Bülent Korucu

Frankly speaking, when I heard the most recent move to finish off the Hizmet movement, it did not sound convincing. I posted messages on social media that the government would not dare sacrificing the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), if not the Hizmet movement. But when I saw consecutive statements by Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan critical of the PKK, my mind was changed. If the government's partnership with the PKK ended, the political administration would be killing two birds with one stone. And they have the templates for doing this. It is possible to think that the mentality of the government would not miss this opportunity to copy the practices of the Feb. 28 "memorandum." If the reports are true, it is possible to speak of some preliminary efforts to launch a similar operation. If this is the case, it is useful to remember the memorandum process.

Those were days when the Feb. 28 figures were trying to undermine the images of those who did not support them. They planted a false report in newspapers. Some papers “acquired” statements by Şemdin Sakık, number two in the PKK after Abdullah Öcalan. The statements attributed to Sakık were serious and grave; in his statements, Sakık allegedly listed “traitors” who cooperated with the PKK. The most remarkable figures in this list included journalists Mehmet Ali Birand and Cengiz Çandar and Human Rights Association Chairman Akın Birdal. The papers argued that Sakık said that some of the journalists were expressing views in their columns and reports in favor of the PKK and they had been paid for this service. This led to a social lynching campaign; Akın Birdal was attacked and barely survived. The allegations were not limited to those three. It was also argued that the Welfare Party (RP) established contacts with the PKK through Van Deputy Fethullah Erbaş. In addition, it was argued that the Milli Gazete and Akit dailies promised not to make any reports criticizing the PKK and a deal was agreed against the common enemy.

Years later, journalist Nazlı Ilıcak showed that these statements were fabricated and that they were drafted by the General Staff intelligence unit. The unit had to confirm that they did this and further stated that they called this document a “memorandum” which was circulated among military offices. Gen. Çevik Bir and Gen. Erdol Özkasnak are now being tried for their involvement in this incident.

There are now serious warnings that the same plot could be staged again. Will this scenario be convincing given that the PKK burned down a number of dorms and education institutions run by the Hizmet movement? Will anybody believe the arguments of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the government given that they were pretty intimate with the PKK? Those who follow the pro-government media may believe such allegations. But it is almost impossible to get any legal outcome out of this. Given the case of Çevik Bir, those who are planning to fabricate false reports should think twice.

Most recently, Ruşen Çakır held an interview with current head of the PKK/ Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Cemil Bayık. In this interview, Çakır asked: “In our latest interview, we discussed the Gülen movement; you told me that you wanted to talk to them but they did not. Has there been any change since then?” Bayık answered, “No, there has been no change; they are still distant.” Despite this fact, will they try to stage this plot?

I am still confused by what Murat Karayılan told Ertuğrul Mavioğlu from the Birgün daily. Arguing that they had some documents on Fethullah Gülen, Karayılan talks about the content of these documents. He said that the minutes they were holding also included research the national intelligence agency had done about them. This means that the PKK holds some intelligence documents that not even Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç have. The PKK could use them for blackmailing purposes, for example there are still some unidentified points in the murder of Serap Eser who was killed by a Molotov cocktail attack, anything is possible in this country. But their fate would become same as the fate of Çevik Bir once legal order is restored.

Published on Today's Zaman, 11 November 2014, Tuesday