September 16, 2014

Government pressures inspectors to investigate 'parallel state'

After allegations emerged on Sunday that bureaucrats within the Ministry of Family and Social Policy with purported links to the Hizmet movement had been illegally profiled under “code 111,” it is now claimed that top government officials have pressured inspectors to launch investigations into bureaucrats who are allegedly affiliated with the movement.

Despite a pile of urgent issues facing inspectors within the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, from child abuse to child labor and children being kidnapped by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the southeast, the ministry is allegedly forcing inspectors to go after bureaucrats who have been illegally profiled under code 111. The ministry is reportedly launching investigations into bureaucrats based on anonymous complaint letters while failing to take action on many problematic areas under its jurisdiction.

An inspector reportedly told his relatives that the government is forcing them to punish bureaucrats with false accusations that could jeopardize their own careers. In other words, the inspectors are uncomfortable with the political pressure but cannot avoid launching baseless investigations on their superiors' orders. According to this inspector, who asked to remain anonymous, despite outrageous incidents concerning families and children in the country, the ministry is asking them to go after members of the “parallel structure,” an insulting term that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has coined to describe the Hizmet movement.

According to some inspectors, one arbitrary reason for initiating an investigation into a bureaucrat at the ministry concerned the purchase of plane tickets. Although the ministry has told its bureaucrats that choosing which firm to buy tickets from is their prerogative, the inspectors are now being asked to investigate why tickets are usually bought from Turkish Airlines (THY).

Similar pressure on inspectors has taken place within the Interior Ministry. Interior Minister Efkan Ala dismissed the ministry's chief inspector, Sadık Altınkaynak, when he refused to prepare an investigation report about police chiefs who had been dismissed following two corruption probes in December of 2013.

Deputy Bal says profiling is similar to Hitler's practices

According to independent Kütahya Deputy İdris Bal, who earlier resigned from the AK Party, the illegal profiling of Ministry of Family and Social Policy bureaucrats is reminiscent of the Adolf Hitler government's profiling of Jews.

Talking at a press conference in Parliament on Monday, Bal argued that there is an ongoing “witch hunt” in government institutions. According to Bal, illegal profiling is not limited to ministries but is also conducted by provincial governors. Bal reiterated that illegal profiling is against the Constitution.

“Giving codes to people is a practice that reminds people of the Hitler era,” Bal said, adding that profiling is also against the universal principles of law.

Referring to “closed” meetings of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with members of the pro-government media, Bal said the AK Party is acting less democratically than the military generals of the Feb. 28, 1997 postmodern coup era.

According to Bal, the AK Party government is focusing on the upcoming elections in the country's top judiciary body, the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), in an effort to control the judiciary. Urging judges and prosecutors to stand up to this pressure, Bal noted the importance of judicial independence for democracy.

Published on Today's Zaman, 15 September 2014, Monday

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