April 18, 2015

Groundless terror probe into Kimse Yok Mu aims to intimidate civil society, GYV says

The Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) has said an investigation launched against prominent charity organization Kimse Yok Mu on charges of terrorism aims to intimidate and limit the activities of a civil society organization.

The GYV said in a statement released on Saturday that the fact that the case consists of legal inconsistencies and that the claims are groundless show that the case is not legal but aims to intimidate and limit the activities of civil society group and “bring it into line.”

The statement recalled that the charity is active in 113 countries with more than 3 million donors, reaches 4.5 million needy people across the world and was named one of the world's best NGOs by Swiss non-profit group Global_Geneva.

“The trial of Kimse Yok Mu with an empty indictment as if it were a terrorist organization complies with neither conscience nor national and international law. The judiciary which is trying to create a terrorist organization from a TV series is now exerting effort to create a terrorist organization from a charity organization,” a statement from GYV said on Saturday. The statement was referring to the jailed chairman of Samanyolu Broadcasting Group, Hidayet Karaca, who is accused of establishing a terrorist organization based on a TV series aired on one of the channels of the group.

“We are having difficulty in understanding what kind of a benefit the government can obtain by putting pressure on Kimse Yok Mu, which carries out its projects for years transparently and effectively by bringing so many needy and volunteers in our country and the world,” the statement continued.

The GYV, whose honorary president is Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, also called on the government to abandon this and similar legal cases which do not comply with the law, democracy and the human rights and which aims to render civil society ineffective.

“It should not be forgotten that everyone needs law,” it added.

The investigation into Kimse Yok Mu recently came to light after Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Musa Yücel sent a subpoena to Kimse Yok Mu's management asking the charity to send him information about the organization's activities for Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice). After receiving the request, the charity's lawyers contacted the prosecutor's office to learn the details of the investigation into Kimse Yok Mu. When the lawyers went to the Ankara Courthouse, they found that the investigation includes charges of being an "armed terrorist organization." However, as the court had ordered that the details of the investigation remain confidential, the lawyers could not examine the contents of the investigation file.

Kimse Yok Mu, which is affiliated with the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement and inspired by the teachings of Gülen, has become a target in a battle launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against the movement. Several pro-government media outlets are carrying out a smear campaign, with publications accusing the charity of engaging in illegal fundraising activities despite a lack of evidence to that effect.

Published on Today's Zaman, 18 April 2015, Saturday