November 12, 2014

’Hizmet-PKK collaboration’ rhetoric like the one created by Ergenekon

The pro-government media outlets have recently been churning out news stories that are geared to create the image that the Hizmet movement is collaborating with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

This familiar thesis is a typical scenario masterminded by Ergenekon -- a clandestine organization nested within the state trying to overthrow or manipulate the democratically elected government. The indictments for the court cases against the members of Ergenekon as well as against the members of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) testify to the fact that this discourse parroted by the pro-government media was actually released into circulation by Ergenekon itself. According to a document in evidence, which made its way into the indictment for the court case known as the Oda TV case, Ergenekon adopted the strategy of "portraying the Hizmet movement and the PKK as collaborating with each other" and took steps to implement this strategy. Oddly enough, this Ergenekon-invented smear campaign is being rehashed recently by pro-government media outlets.

This PKK collaboration conspiracy was first discovered in a file erased from a computer hard disk bearing the serial number ST3120827AS_4MS1TF89, which was seized by the police during a search at the Oda TV office. Titled "Hocadan Notlar" (Notes from the professor), this document breaks down the Ergenekon-made slander which is currently being practiced by the government. Judicial authorities believe this document contains notes about instructions from Yalçın Küçük, a defendant in the Oda TV case, who is known to have worked for a long time with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. The document advises that the idea that there is a connection between the Hizmet movement and the PKK should be publicized. It then lists what can be done about this so-called connection.

"Find something to run stories about the Hizmet movement's reaching an agreement with the PKK. Can the media outlets find some way to invent some connection? Aren't there any pro-PKK businessmen whose kids attend the schools run by the Hizmet movement? Aren't there former pro-PKK correspondents who worked at the Hizmet-run media outlets? Let us try to bring them together in civil society organizations or joint initiatives. Let us contrive reasonable contacts. Let certain pro-government media figures act as intermediaries," it says.

While this Ergenekon-concocted dirty smear campaign was being implemented, there was an interesting development on Dec. 5, 2010. Öcalan's lawyers met with former Zaman columnist Hüseyin Gülerce in Yalova. Following this meeting, the Hizmet movement-PKK connection idea was put into circulation. "I couldn't imagine they would create an enemies-of-the-republic hand-in-hand campaign out of a meeting between a journalist and three lawyers," Gülerce had said. Gülerce had offered his apologies, noting that he attended the meeting on his personal initiative.

Öcalan's acts help Ergenekon's plan

Three days after this meeting, something happened to lend support to this "Hizmet-PKK cooperation" thesis. In a statement he made via his lawyers, Öcalan said, "Cooperation between the PKK and the Hizmet movement will solve Turkey's problems." Öcalan added: "I don't see them [Hizmet] as a religious order or community. In my opinion, it is more a civil society organization of Turkey and the Middle East. Its role is important. It has dynamism; we, too, are a dynamic force. Mutual understanding and solidarity between these two dynamic forces will solve many of Turkey's basic problems." In the wake of these developments, certain media outlets started to publish false stories about the PKK-Hizmet cooperation.

At that time, Mr. Fethullah Gülen's lawyer Orhan Erdemli denied the accusations, reminding the public that Gülerce attended the controversial meeting between him and Öcalan's lawyers in his capacity as a journalist and that he was not a spokesperson for the movement. "Indeed, we have repeatedly announced to the public that Mr. Gülen does not have a representative or spokesperson," the statement read.

Erdemli had stressed that the news stories suggesting that Öcalan's lawyers offered to cooperate with the Hizmet movement or that there was cooperation between the PKK and Hizmet was aimed at turning public opinion against Mr. Gülen.

The above-mentioned document in evidence from the Oda TV case points to the source of the pro-government's oft-repeated "the Hizmet movement is linked to foreign intelligence organizations" thesis, by saying, "Let us portray the Hizmet movement as linked to foreign intelligence organizations, in particular Israeli and US ones." The document further suggests that the thesis that the PKK is under the full control of Öcalan and it is the sole representative of Kurds should be tossed into circulation.

This document shows evidence of the basis of the smear campaigns waged by the pro-government media outlets which reheat the old scenarios masterminded by the Ergenekon terrorist organization.

Published on Today's Zaman, 12 November 2014, Wednesday