December 7, 2015

Prosecutor’s office fails to find evidence of alleged Sümeyye murder plot

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has not found any evidence to support reports published in several pro-government media outlets about an alleged assassination plot targeting the daughter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

According to a news report published in the Cumhuriyet daily on Sunday, the prosecutor's office has formally declined to pursue the case and requested a change of venue for the investigation looking into assassination allegations covered in the pro-government Star, Güneş and Akşam dailies in February, sending the case file to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office.

The Akşam and Güneş newspapers, both owned by businessman Ethem Sancak, who has close ties to President Erdoğan, ran front-page stories in February based on alleged Twitter messages between Emre Uslu, a journalist they claimed was Twitter whistleblower Fuat Avni, and Republican People's Party (CHP) deputies Umut Oran and Akif Hamzaçebi. The alleged messages between Oran and Uslu discussed an assassination plot targeting Sümeyye Erdoğan that had been ordered by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, according to the two dailies.

Hamzaçebi and Uslu supposedly also discussed a collaboration between the CHP and the “parallel structure” in the run-up to the June 7 parliamentary election, according to the alleged conversations.

The term “parallel structure” was invented and has been frequently used by President Erdoğan to refer to an alleged network of those sympathetic to the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, inspired by Gülen, who work within the state bureaucracy, although he later expanded it to refer to the entire movement. Erdoğan has accused the movement of a plot to overthrow his government, a claim the movement has repeatedly denied.

At a press conference in Parliament following the reports, Oran strongly criticized the pro-government media and denied the allegations. Subsequently, he asked Twitter to reveal the content of all his correspondence via the social media platform. The response from Twitter disproved the allegations. Twitter, in a written statement, noted that Umut Oran and Fuat Avni do not follow each other and that it was thus not possible for them to exchange direct messages over Twitter.

Published on Today's Zaman, 7 December 2015, Monday