October 4, 2015

Grave breach of law

Ekrem Dumanlı

Many statements have been made against the Hizmet movement so far.

The pro-government media justified themselves by telling lies; they relied on slanders; they attempted every method of dark propaganda. laws were changed, prosecutors were fixed and judges were appointed. Now there are three indictments. A review of these indictments clearly reveals that laws have been gravely violated.

Let me start with the most recent one: The prosecutor has just reversed the Dec. 17-25, 2013 file, the most comprehensive and important corruption scandal in the history of Turkey. He calls this a coup case. It was obvious when the corruption investigation was suspended that this would happen. The thieves, the corrupt figures and the bribers are free while the police officers who caught them are being held in prison.

The corruption file contained a lot of evidence. Those who raised a counter legal move should have presented similar evidence. But if you read the indictment, you will not see text that a lawyer, relying on the laws, would draft. The content is similar to the low-profile columns of pro-government writers. It turns out Prosecutor Ismail Uçar has made some deep political analysis. It is just ridiculous. The prosecutor included in the text many things and events in a broad period between the conquest of İstanbul and the social upheaval in Syria. It resembles a joke. Uçar, who mentions Brutus, also refers to the Hittite and Lydian civilizations. The indictment, emphasizing on the alleged antagonism of the West against Turkey, also discusses the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) with some abstract analyses. Some excerpts to implicate the Hizmet movement were taken from Wikipedia verbatim; is this something that a lawyer would do? This is not legal text; it is a superficial document compiled based on the reports of pro-government papers.

The Tahşiye indictment is another document that demonstrates the politicization of the law. Aside from the absurd and inconsistent arguments and allegations, it is even possible to raise a legal claim against the drafters for forgery of documents. Why? They quote from a book first published three decades ago and republished many times; the prosecutor in fact considers this excerpt as evidence. In addition, the excerpt was clearly distorted; the part in the indictment contains statements not included in the original text of the book. Officially, a crime was committed.

Many examples can be cited to prove the contradictions in the Tahşiye indictment. The basic issue is that the prosecutor regards the suspects in the Tahşiye case as innocent before the hearings and trials are over. He assumes a plot was staged against them and is seeking to punish those who allegedly conspired against them. But the thing is that this group was proven to have links to al-Qaeda; the legal process is still ongoing. How can you assume a plot was staged against them? The prosecutor argues the fingerprints of the police officers on a bomb found in house of the Tahşiye group are indisputable evidence. But the thing is that the police officers already noted in the minutes that they accidentally touched the bomb; interestingly, these police officers are not referred to as suspects in the indictment. So who is left?

The prosecutor also argues Fethullah Gülen implicitly instructed police officers in a televised religious sermon to initiate an operation. If Gülen has such an influence with the police, why would he give the instruction in a televised speech? This is just absurd and ridiculous. In addition, the military intelligence, police intelligence and national intelligence agency drafted reports on Tahşiye well before Gülen's sermon.

The prosecutors also refer to the Historical Traffic Search (HTS) records to determine which phone intercepts what station. Fine, but what did they talk about? There is no information on this. How do you base your bold argument on this? If the prosecutors are in on this matter, maybe I should give a hint: take a look at the phone HTS records of pro-government journalists and the police chiefs you are implicating. You will see that some of them should also be implicated by this logic. How can you declare people guilty just because their HTS records belong to the same station? This is pathetic.

The document drafted by Ankara Prosecutor Serdar Coşkun also cannot be properly called an indictment. There was a car theft in Ankara. Two police officials noted this incident involving a police officer Seyit Akşit and placed pressure on that officer to press charges against the so-called parallel state. Akşit frequently noted in court the camera recordings of the interrogation room should be reviewed because he was forced to lie against innocent people. Nothing has been done. This is a clear conspiracy. Despite this, the prosecutor drafted an indictment based on this car theft. Prosecutor Coşkun should also know an indictment cannot be based on rumors or lies. Otherwise, he will become responsible in face of history and law.

Why would all this happen? Unfortunately, some members of the judiciary have been influenced by political matters and developments. As a result, they fail to perform their duties in compliance with the Constitution and laws. Can you believe that Muhammad Fevzi Aygün, who made grave insults in his Twitter posts, is actually a judge and not a Twitter troll? How could a person who made grave insults against Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Hayko Bağdat, Abdülhamit Bilici and Nazlı Ilıcak serve as a judge? The judiciary needs to remain impartial and independent ahead of the election and the police department should not be part of political operations. Otherwise, they would have committed a crime. And they will pay the price for what they are doing now.

Are you now relieved?

Ahmet Hakan was attacked, he has a broken nose and broken ribs. All journalists were intimidated. This heinous attack was expected. It was obvious this would happen. Why?

A pro-government columnist, referring to Hakan, repeatedly said he is still alive because of their mercy. Such a heinous attack should be expected if none of the country's prosecutors initiated a legal process against this person after weeks. An AKP deputy, Abdurrahim Boynukalın, led a violent group which attacked the Hürriyet daily's headquarters, no legal action was taken against him and the AK Party even rewarded him after this incident -- then Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu made some vague statements where he didn't condemn any of this. Which journalist would feel safe in this country? Another AKP deputy talked about torturing Aydın Doğan and no legal action was taken against him. In such an environment, it is only likely that the journalists would become targets.

How did we reach this point?

On Dec. 14, the police raided the Zaman daily and the Samanyolu Broadcasting Group (STV). Laws were gravely violated and the media was intimidated, they attempted to confiscate the properties of İpek Koza Group, top officials made grave insults against Cumhutiyet daily, Sözcü and Bugün, and the people were provoked to act against these outlets.

Would you take a look at the list of journalists who face legal prosecution? Sedef Kabaş, Hasan Cemal, Ahmet Altan, Can Dündar, Selahattin Duman, Ayşe Hür… Some may follow in the near future. This is a first in the history of the republican era.

A person who has no previous experience as a journalist presents himself as a journalist with strong links to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT); if MİT does not make any statement to deny this allegation, then those threats are likely to lead to such unpleasant attacks.

How many people should be attacked so that you feel relieved? Will some assassinations work for you? Remember that you will not enjoy those seats and positions forever -- you will someday have to answer to law for what you have done. From now on, the top politicians, their bureaucrats and pro-government hit men are responsible for every fist and every bullet targeting the journalists.

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 4 October 2015, Sunday