Date posted: March 30, 2014
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has over time turned out to be wrong or self-contradictory in his allegations over a number of issues in the past few years, which has cast doubts on his credibility as well as the credibility of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in the eyes of the people.
In the latest incident, Prime Minister Erdoğan publicly said during an election rally in Kastamonu on March 25 that it was the faith-based Hizmet movement, inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, that had leaked secret talks between Turkish intelligence officials and members of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Oslo in 2010 to the media. “The Oslo talks were leaked to the media by Pennsylvania,” Erdoğan told his supporters, in a veiled reference to Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania.
In a televised program in 2012, however, the prime minister said the talks were leaked by the PKK. He said an investigation by the government indicated that these secret talks had been leaked to the media by the terrorist group. “If Turkey’s intelligence agency held secret talks with the PKK, it was not right to leak these talks as documents,” he had said.
An almost 50-minute-long voice recording from the secret talks between the government and PKK members in Oslo was revealed to the media in September 2011, which sparked debates across Turkey at the time. The recording included secret talks thought to have been held in 2010 in Oslo between intelligence officials and PKK negotiators, as well as meetings on the island of İmralı, where PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is serving a life sentence.
The U-turn in the prime minister’s position toward the leaked Oslo talks suggests a change in his personal and political interests. Erdoğan has not backed his claim that the talks were leaked to the media by the Hizmet movement with any evidence. He just places the blame on the movement and expects people to trust his words. But the big question is: What made the prime minister, who once had full faith that it was the PKK who had leaked the Oslo talks, target Hizmet for the leak now?
The prime minister was found to have provided false information to the public in another development as well. In 2012, when the police detained former Chief of General Staff retired Gen. İlker Başbuğ, Erdoğan vehemently criticized the move, saying he could not accept the charges of being a terrorist organization leader leveled against the retired general. Following Başbuğ’s arrest, Erdoğan said it was his and his ruling party’s preferences that the trial of the ex-military chief continue without his arrest.
However, former İstanbul Police Department intelligence bureau chief Ali Fuat Yılmazer said during a TV program earlier this month that Başbuğ had been arrested on the orders of the prime minister. Yılmazer also said the prime minister closely follows major criminal cases, including Ergenekon, the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) and OdaTV, and ordered other suspects to be arrested as well. “We did not arrest anyone [without the knowledge of the prime minister]. The prime minister supported all those [arrests.] Lists [of suspects] were submitted to the prime minister ahead of [police] operations,” Yılmazer said.
Retired Gen. Başbuğ was arrested in 2012 on coup charges as part of the case against the terrorist Ergenekon organization, which was accused of working to topple the AK Party government. The general, who retired in 2010, became the highest-ranking military officer to be put behind bars in the Ergenekon case. He was given a life sentence last August.
“Başbuğ’s folder was submitted to the prime minister. The prime minister met with the justice minister and the deputy chief prosecutor. The deputy chief prosecutor later told me the prime minister had ordered Başbuğ to be arrested. He looked concerned. I told him to do what was necessary,” Yılmazer noted, adding he does not know if Başbuğ was arrested in accordance with the law or upon pressure from the prime minister.
Since the start of a match-fixing investigation in July 2011, which led to the imprisonment of dozens of sports figures — including Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım — some circles have claimed the Hizmet movement was behind the investigation with the aim of eventually seizing control of Fenerbahçe.
The allegations intensified when Fenerbahçe lost the title of champion to its rival Galatasaray in 2012.
In late January, Yıldırım publicly said Fenerbahçe was the target of a “trap,” which he said had been laid by what he called the “parallel structure” in reference to the Hizmet movement, and that he learned about the trap from the prime minister. “I don’t need to defend myself [against claims of match-fixing]. The [trial] process will defend me. Everyone knows we are right. The prime minister said we were right and that a trap had been laid for us,” the Fenerbahçe chairman had said on TV.
Yıldırım was convicted in July 2012 and sentenced to six years, three months in prison for fixing matches, trying to influence the outcome of matches and leading a criminal gang. A chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld Yıldırım’s conviction for match-fixing in January. Yıldırım, who has denied any wrongdoing, will lodge a final appeal.
On March 3, a voice recording leaked on YouTube revealed there was indeed a trap against Fenerbahçe, but it was laid by the prime minister, not the Hizmet movement. According to the recording, Prime Minister Erdoğan had allegedly attempted to get a candidate close to him elected as chairman of Fenerbahçe. In the recording, Erdoğan allegedly instructs his son Bilal over the phone to send word to the candidate on the strategy he should adopt during the club’s general assembly.
Furthermore, time has again proven Erdoğan to be wrong in his claims that the Hizmet movement was implicated in a sex tape that forced former Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Deniz Baykal to step down in 2010. When a sex tape depicting Baykal in an extramarital affair with a party deputy first went public in 2010, Erdoğan accused the Hizmet movement of recording the tape and spreading it online. Baykal, however, refuted claims that the movement had been involved in the incident, putting the blame for the emergence of the scandalous tape instead on the AK Party.
A voice recording purportedly of the prime minister was posted online on March 26, dealing a huge blow to claims that the Hizmet movement was behind Baykal’s tape. The recording, if authentic, suggests Erdoğan had planned the dissemination of the tape. A Twitter user who posted the recording online claimed the recording had been seized from the computer of Erdoğan’s advisor Mustafa Varank, hinting that the recording had been done by the prime minister’s own man in the first place. In the recording, which seems to be a collage of various speeches, the voice attributed to Erdoğan instructs his men to capture Baykal in flagrante delicto and spread the evidence across the media and the Internet.
Source: HizmetMovement.com , March 30, 2014