January 14, 2015

Turkish intelligence and national police all investigated ‘Tahşiyeciler'

Zaman newspaper’s editor-in-chief Ekrem Dumanlı and Samanyolu Broadcast Group President were amongst members of the press detained on Dec 14, 2014 for allegedly defaming a suspected al-Qaeda affiliated Tahşiyeciler group through press articles, dating a couple of years ago.

New findings have revealed that the case is entirely baseless. The police report audaciously claims that the publications on Zaman newspaper and a fictional TV series on Samanyolu TV, along with a 2009 sermon on the group by Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gülen were behind the eventual operation against the Tahşiyeciler group in early 2010.

The January 2010 raids included the homes and offices of 112 people across Turkey. The police had discovered three hand grenades, one smoke bomb, seven handguns, 18 hunting rifles, electronic parts for explosives, knives and a large cache of ammunition. The group’s leader Mehmet Doğan was detained for 17 months after being arrested in early 2010.

The December 14 operation against free media was based on police report dated Nov. 19, 2014 which claims that there were no previous efforts to counter the “Tahşiyeciler” group prior to October 22 2010, which dates ahead of the articles. Contrary to police investigators statements, there were previous efforts to counter the group, the National Intelligence Agency (MİT), the Turkish army, and the National Police were all working on the group. This reveals that the police investigators had withheld key evidence from the prosecutor in İstanbul who is overseeing the case against journalists Ekrem Dumanlı and Hidayet Karaca as well as implicating Fethullah Gülen.

The MİT had issued a circular to police departments in 12 provinces detailing the dangerous activities of Tahşiyeciler group in December 2008. The circular includes confidential files prepared by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the intelligence services of the police and military on the al-Qaeda-linked group “Tahşiyeciler”.

The circular described the group as having some 5,000 members and identified Mehmet Doğan, as the group leader who was exploiting religion.

MİT sent the police further intelligence about the group on Feb. 17, March 17 and March 30, 2009. The Counter-Terrorism Department of the İstanbul Police Department forwarded the case file, with all information collected about the group, to the prosecutor's office. The prosecutor then ordered the judicial investigation into “Tahşiyeciler” that led to raids on safe houses used by the group on Jan. 22, 2010.

Not only MİT, but also the General Staff's intelligence bureau had also been monitoring Tahşiyeciler long before Gülen's speech in April 2009, warning the military about the group's activities in March 2009.

The file said Doğan saw bin Laden as a military commander for the Mahdi, the prophesied redeemer of Islam that the entire Muslim world is waiting for, and saw al-Qaeda as the army of the Mahdi.

On the Jan. 22, 2010 operation targeting the group, police
However, the police did not send the intelligence collected by the MİT and General Staff -- which would clear the journalists and Gülen from all charges levelled against them -- to the court.

Published on BGNNews, 12 January 2015, Monday