April 26, 2015

Former Turkish president’s son slams Ankara’s parallel conspiracy

Ahmet Özal, son of Turkey’s 8th president the late Turgut Özal, says that Ankara uses the word 'parallel' to conjure up imaginary enemies, and that his father would have been branded 'parallel' as well for his public support of Turkish schools around the world.

Parliamentary candidate for Mardin with the ‘National Alliance,’ an election alliance between the Felicity Party (SP) and the Great Union Party (BBP) for the upcoming general elections on June 7, Ahmet Özal spoke with Turkish daily Bugün about the 'parallel' conspiracy accusations leveled at opponents by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

Ahmet Özal dismisses Ankara’s frequent allegations of a ‘parallel structure,’ a shadowy covert organization the administration claims has infiltrated the state and is intent on toppling the government, saying it is simply an attempt to conjure up imaginary enemies in the wake of a corruption scandal involving the president’s family members and members of his inner circle that went public on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013. He likens the motivations at play to those of Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who specialized in creating enemies to later attack and thus come to power.

The term ‘parallel structure’ is generally used by the Turkish president and his associates to refer to the Gülen movement (Hizmet movement) inspired by Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. The movement has also been responsible for establishing countless Turkish schools around the world, making them frequent targets of Ankara.

“They come up with the term ‘parallelist,’ I don’t know if being close to Fethullah Gülen constitutes ‘parallelism,’” says the son of Turkey’s late 8th President Turgut Özal, “My father offered Fethullah Gülen a lot of support when he was establishing the Turkish schools. Before the schools in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan were opened, my father even said ‘I personally vouch of these’.” Ahmet Özal adds, “Does this mean that if my father were alive today he’d be a parallelist? By those terms Turgut Özal would be the number one parallelist, just because he assisted those schools.”

Praising the quality of the schools themselves, Ahmet Özal points out how useful they are for Turkey, how by teaching children Turkish in 160 countries around the world from Africa to Central Asia to the United States, they were improving Turkey’s standing in the world. “When those children who learned Turkish grow up, they’re going to feel close to Turkey, they’re going to want to trade with Turkey, they’re going to want to invest in Turkey,” he adds, “This is an amazing contribution to Turkey’s future.”

Ahmet Özal also had things to say regarding the Syria-bound trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) that were allegedly transporting an illegal arms shipment to Syrian rebels, a charge Ankara denies and accuses of being part of the greater parallel conspiracy. “If the MİT trucks really were only carrying medical supplies, blankets and food,” asked Özal, “Then why didn’t you let them be searched?” Adana Public Prosecutor Aziz Takçı who ordered the search and the military personnel who conducted it are all currently being prosecuted.

Noting that the government provided significant aid to al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch al-Nusra, Özal notes that such actions might get Turkey to be listed as a terrorist state in the future. “That’s my biggest concern, that they’ll remove the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from the terrorist list and add Turkey in its place.”

Published on BGNNews, 26 April 2015, Sunday