September 7, 2014

13 questions to the president

Veysel Ayhan

1. Mr. President, you attended the closing ceremony of the International Turkish Olympiad in June last year. "I congratulate our dear teachers who dedicate their lives to the promotion of the Turkish language and Turkey's bid for peace," you said, before proceeding to direct praise at the Hizmet movement and Mr. Fethullah Gülen -- who inspired that movement -- for some 25 minutes. What is the reason that we don't know, other than the graft and bribery investigations of Dec. 17 and 25, 2013, that urged you to make a U-turn and start to demonize the same Hizmet movement?

2. Mr. Gülen had previously been tried by the courts established in the wake of the coup of March 12, 1970. The junta failed to find any reprehensible act. Then came the coup perpetrators of Sept. 12, 1980. Finally, the subversive generals of the postmodern coup of Feb. 28, 1997 brought action against him on charges of establishing and leading an illegal organization, but the general assembly of the Supreme Court of Appeals acquitted him of the charges in June 2008. As the lawyers of Mr. Gülen note, there is no ongoing investigation or trial that concerns Mr. Gülen.

Based on which judicial proceeding except those referred to in the pro-government media outlets do you plan to ask the US to extradite Mr. Gülen?

3. The judiciary is supposed to be independent in a democratic country. You act both as the prosecutor and the judge in a court that exists in your mind only and you sentence him in that court before moving to ask the US to extradite him. The US is not like us; it is a democratic country. The US president cannot say anything about extradition; it is the US courts who are supposed to make a decision about extradition. Although you know this fact, you make the newspapers at your disposal publish stories about your asking Obama to extradite Mr. Gülen. Why? Is it because you want to create the image of the US as protecting Mr. Gülen? Do you think your new post goes along well with such psychological-warfare practices?

4. Even the most innocent people may be, and indeed are, treated as criminals in a country where politicians act as prosecutors or judges and the judicial system collapses. Terrorists are treated as the state's guests while patriots are considered terrorists. The honest people who combat thefts and corruption are tried in the courts specifically established for this purpose. All evil groups cooperate in hostility against Mr. Gülen. Snakes are out to trap him. In this conjecture, is it wise for Mr. Gülen to return to Turkey so that these snakes take action to bite him with no recourse to law, given the abject state of the judiciary?

Is your unsurpassed hostility geared to cover up these sinister plans?

5. Is your current unprecedented animosity against the Hizmet movement -- which you used to praise extensively in the past -- because of the affiliation of the prosecutors and police chiefs who conducted the graft and bribery investigations with the Hizmet movement?

6. For the last two years, you failed to give any interviews to journalists who boldly ask hard questions. Is it because the claims about the disposal of 30 million euros, the Urla villas, the zoning permits, the reassignment of the provincial governor who didn't approve your unlawful requests to other provinces, the villas in Çatalca, the tampering with public tenders, dismissing the commission of 10 million euros, the arms shipments and the covered-up sex tape of former Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal are all true?

7. Although you were immune from any judicial investigation under the Constitution, you said, "Their aim was to arrest me." Is it because you are involved in this graft and bribery scandal?

8. If you are not involved in them, why did you wage war against law enforcement officers who investigated the graft charges? Why didn't you choose to make your party stronger by lending support to anti-corruption efforts? Why did you assign more than 20,000 people to other cities?

9. It recently became evident that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had warned you about Reza Zarrab's corrupt relations with your ministers last year. It follows that the MİT members had wiretapped your ministers and bureaucrats. Did you remove those MİT members from office?

10. When it was claimed that Baykal had accounts in Swiss banks, he personally filed petitions with these banks asking them to notify the public if he had any such account. Thus, it became clear that Baykal didn't have any accounts with Swiss banks. Based on the Wikileaks documents, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu claimed that you have eight accounts at Swiss banks. Do you plan to follow Baykal's case in asking Swiss banks to declare whether you have accounts with them?

11. Is there any coup in the history of the world conducted by 30 prosecutors and 20 police chiefs? Can you define the resignation from office of four ministers as a coup? Isn't it crime for Zarrab to bribe ministers or for police officers to wiretap Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi Arabian businessman who is on the US Treasury Department's “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” list and who is prohibited by the Cabinet from entering Turkey? Is it a coup?

12. When journalists asked "Don't you need evidence to justify the recent operations against the police officers?" you replied, "The prime minister and ministers of this country were wiretapped. Do I need any other evidence?" What is the logic behind you answer? The crime itself explains the criminal. How do you feel consciously as you defame and denigrate a community with millions of members without any evidence?

13. Isn't it odd that you fail to say a critical remark about the US, the UK and Germany's wiretapping of Turkey, but you raise hell when saying "the community [Hizmet] wiretapped me"?

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 07 September 2014, Sunday