May 8, 2015

All religious groups included into the Red Book!

Erhan Başyurt

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç recently spoke to private broadcaster NTV about what is meant by the expression “parallel structures”, which was included upon the government’s initiative into the National Security Policy Document (MGSB) known as the “Red Book”.

Arınç said, “The expression ‘illegal structures disguised as legal entities’ in the MGSB does not refer specifically to the Gülen Movement but also to other existing groups or the ones that may emerge in the future. The Movement was mentioned in a general description. No specific description of the Gülen Movement, or of measures to be taken against it, has been referred to.”

These words by Arınç, who participates in National Security Council (MGK) meetings as a minister, confirm that not only the Gülen Movement but also all other religious groups and congregations are and can be targeted.

Whereas, the Secretariat General of the MGK released the below statement on Dec. 4, 2014 and denied the claims that “all religious groups are targeted”:
“It has been discovered that recently some media outlets have been running stories or commentaries, claiming that all religious groups were categorized as illegal organizations and given certain codes at an MGK meeting held on Oct. 30. These allegations are completely baseless.”
Actually, these claims had been first uttered – rather boastfully – by pro-government reporters. Abdurrahman Şimşek, intelligence correspondent of Sabah daily, spoke to the TvNet channel, which is known to be close to the government, immediately after the said MGK meeting and revealed the decision:
“No structure whatsoever will be allowed in the state from now on. Neither Süleymancı, Nakşi, Menzilci, İskenderpaşacı nor members of the İsmailağa community. There will be an effective fight against all religious groups. From now on, the state will be neutral towards all religious communities.”
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu answered reporters’ questions on Dec. 24, 2014 aboard a plane en route to Skopje and denied the claims saying, “Some groups pursue another negative campaign against Turkey. It’s as if the government takes a stand against all religious groups.”

Nuri Elibol, a columnist for Turkiye daily who was nominated by the AK Party as a candidate for the June 7 elections, cited Prime Minister Davutoğlu’s remarks in his column on May 7, 2015:
“The Prime Minister said they had never made a decision to restrict or inspect activities of religious groups and communities.”
Considering previous official denials, Arınç’s statements constitute an important disclosure. For the first time, a top official expresses it so clearly.

The government itself had suffered much due to the category “Islamic reactionism” included into the “Red Book” during the Feb. 28 process by soldiers and had it removed later.

Now, “at the summit of its power”, it has a vague paragraph, which targets “all religious groups” but does not have a legally binding force, added into the text at an MGK meeting.

After that decision, the MGK may give instructions to public agencies to carry out such activities as “surveillance and profiling.”

The government has thus brought back – consciously or unconsciously – the “reactionism” clause by stating “illegal structures disguised as legal entities.”

Again, it sought legitimacy through military tutelage for the fight against “parallel structures” and turned the quest for support from soldiers into an approval from a “higher authority.”

Moreover, it turned out that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), which reports to the Prime Ministry, had preemptively monitored and profiled religious groups and communities before the “Red Book” was written.

Surveillance and profiling lists titled “Target Priorities 2010 and 2014” and published by dailies Vakit and Taraf show that while the al-Qaeda was relegated to second place, Süleymancıs, Nakşis, Nurcus, Gülen Movement, and the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) were designated as “primary targets of surveillance.”

In short, the AK Party’s adventure with the MGK and the “Red Book” resembles a vicious circle. It returned to where it had started.

The distance (!) covered reminds this nursery rhyme:

“Little I went, far away I reached. I walked along the hills and the streams. I walked for six months and an autumn by passing through meadows, drinking cold waters, and mowing tulips and hyacinths. And when I stopped and turned back, I realized that I had come as far as a barley’s size!”

Published on BGNNews, 08 May 2015, Friday