May 16, 2015

Attacking the Journalists and Writers Foundation

İhsan Yılmaz

Last week, I wrote: “The AKP [Justice and Development Party] is planning to rig the elections by using state power. It is also trying to distort the real election agenda.

The Hizmet movement is a multi-task, multi-purpose tool for the AKP in this regard. The AKP only wants its voters to talk about ideological issues, not economic problems. Thus, it persists with its attacks on the Hizmet movement. Every day police officers attack offices of the movement's civil society organizations. … To create the most impact, to steer the public away from talking about the opposition's projects, the AKP may arrest hundreds of Hizmet volunteers, journalists, professors and civil activists of the Hizmet movement under terrorism and possibly even spying charges.”

Since I wrote those words, the pro-AKP media have launched a new campaign against one of Hizmet's flagship organizations, the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV). Speaking on the A Haber television station, which is run by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son-in-law, three commentators talked about an influential opposition member of Parliament. They linked her influential opposition to the existence of a sex tape involving her. On the show, Cemil Barlas, the son of columnist Mehmet Barlas, said that Meral Akşener, a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy and a deputy parliament speaker, is a very active critic of the AKP and asks if the reason for this is the existence of a sex tape. Instead of asking Barlas more, the show's moderator instantly turns to Latif Erdoğan ???WHO IS THIS??? and asks him if he knows anything about Akşener's personality. It is obvious that they have planned this episode. Erdoğan is very firm and clear. He says Akşener does have a sex tape, which includes indecent scenes that do not befit a lady. The commentator urges Erdoğan to continue and he says the information is based on concrete evidence. He also says that Akşener has been threatened by the Hizmet movement, which he says prepared the tape to force Akşener to continue to criticize the AKP.

Erdoğan later changed his story and said he has never seen the tape and that it was doctored. He also said that GYV Chairman Mustafa Yeşil offered to give him the tape several years ago. Yeşil denied this vehemently and his lawyer has filed a lawsuit. Many people have asked Erdoğan why he has not done or said anything if has was offered such a satanic thing. He has no answers, only more lies.

Then, Daily Sabah, which is also run by Erdoğan's son-in-law, kept publishing stories based on Cem Küçük's allegations that the GYV is the cosmic center of Hizmet's terrorist and tape activities. Küçük, a notorious pro-AKP columnist with alleged links to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), had been writing that the GYV is a spy center and that Hizmet gives top secret documents of the Turkish state to visiting CIA, MOSSAD and other spies in the foundation's buildings. Before last week, these claims only appeared in his column. But at the start of last week, this idea started spreading to become big news for the Erdoğanist media. Since Fethullah Gülen is the honorary chair of the foundation, it seems that Erdoğan now takes this issue seriously. I will not be surprised if hundreds of police officers raid the foundations' offices.

I am also one of the foundation's board members. And being in their top list of columnists alongside my boss, Bülent Keneş, I am a little concerned (but not afraid) that the AKP may try to imprison all of the foundation's members. We shall see.

On a final note, the Sabah daily has written that prosecutors have now opened a lawsuit against GYV Chair Mustafa Yeşil. What a surprise! It is Latif Erdoğan, Cemil Barlas and A Haber who smeared Akşener, but it is Yeşil who has to prove that he has done nothing wrong! I suggest that they must also open a lawsuit against Akşener. No one would be surprised.

Published on Today's Zaman, 15 May 2015, Friday