Turkish police raid media close to cleric rival Gulen, detain 24

Zaman editor-in-chief Ekrem Dumanli (C), escorted by plainclothes police officers, is cheered on by his colleagues as he leaves the headquarters of Zaman daily newspaper in Istanbul
Zaman editor-in-chief Ekrem Dumanli (C), escorted by plainclothes police officers, is cheered on by his colleagues as he leaves the headquarters of Zaman daily newspaper in Istanbul


Date posted: December 15, 2014

DAREN BUTLER AND HUMEYRA PAMUK

Turkish police raided media outlets close to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric on Sunday and detained 24 people including top executives and ex-police chiefs in operations against what President Tayyip Erdogan calls a terrorist network conspiring to topple him.

The raids on Zaman daily and Samanyolu television marked an escalation of Erdogan’s battle with ex-ally Fetullah Gulen, with whom he has been in open conflict since a graft investigation targeting Erdogan’s inner circle emerged a year ago.

In scenes broadcast live on Turkish TV channels, top-selling Zaman’s editor-in-chief Ekrem Dumanli smiled and studied police documents before being led through the newspaper’s headquarters to applause from staff crowded onto balconies

“Let those who have committed a crime be scared,” he said before police struggled to escort him through the crowds to a waiting car. “We are not scared.”

Several hundred people chanted “The free press cannot be silenced” and “Turkey is proud of you”.

The European Union was quick to condemn the raids, saying in an unusually strongly worded statement they were incompatible with media freedom and ran counter to European values.

The U.S. State Department called “as Turkey’s friend and ally” on Turkish authorities to protect media freedom and other democratic values.

Terrorism charges

Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Hadi Salihoglu said in a statement arrest warrants had been issued for 31 people on charges of “establishing a terrorist group”, forgery and slander.

In raids across EU-candidate Turkey, 24 people have been detained, including two former police chiefs, state broadcaster TRT Haber said. Also detained were Samanyolu’s chairman and the staff of two Samanyolu drama series, one about an anti-terrorism squad and the other set in a southeast hit by Kurdish rebellion.

“This is a shameful sight for Turkey,” chairman Hidayet Karaca said before his arrest. “Sadly in 21st Century Turkey this is the treatment they dish out to a media group with tens of television and radio stations, internet media and magazines.”

Erdogan, whose AK Party was elected in 2002, introduced many democratic reforms in his first years in power and curbed army involvement in politics. NATO allies often cited Turkey as an example of a successful Muslim democracy, but more recently critics have accused Erdogan of intolerance of dissent and, increasingly, a divisive reversion to Islamist roots.

Alluding to Gulen’s ‘Hizmet’ (service) movement and the raids, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a meeting of his ruling AK Party in southeast Turkey those who “infiltrate state institutions” should expect to give account for their actions.

“Those who prepare dossiers against the prime minister of a government … who came to power with the national will shall give account before the people and history,” he said, attacking those who “declared war on the government in the guise of ‘service'”.

“Coup Against Democracy”

Main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu told reporters: “This is a coup government. A coup is being carried out against democracy”.

Erdogan accuses Gulen of establishing a parallel structure in the state through his supporters in the judiciary, police and other institutions, while wielding influence through the media.

The cleric, living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, denies any ambition to overthrow Erdogan.

Erdogan drew on Gulen’s influence among police and judiciary in his first years of power to help tame an army that had toppled four governments since 1960, including Turkey’s first Islamist-led cabinet. That relationship has dramatically soured.

Erdogan, who consolidated his power further in moving from the prime minister’s office to the presidency in August, has described “Gulenists” in the past as terrorists and traitors.


*Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Ralph Boulton and Catherine Evans

Source: Reuters , December 14, 2014


Related News

Kosovo’s Parliament To Probe Deportation Of Six Turks

Kosovo’s parliament on April 4 voted to establish a panel to investigate how and why six Turkish citizens who are opponents of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were arrested and deported to Turkey.

US State Department ‘Can’t Imagine’ Accepting Erdogan Offer to Trade Hostage Pastor for Gulen

“President Erdogan’s suggestion that the U.S. should make a hostage-style prisoner swap for an innocent American imprisoned in Turkey is appalling and will not be taken seriously,” Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said. Brunson’s is not the first case that has resulted in a Western country accusing Erdogan of hostage diplomacy.

A Mother and Son Flee Istanbul for San Antonio

Before the live feed was cut from the Zaman building on that Friday in March, I watched police shoot rubber bullets into the crowd gathered to protest the paper’s seizure. Bloodied, the crowd retreated, still screaming for free speech but knowing hope was gone.

Why do they lie about Fethullah Gülen?

There are two major allegations that are currently employed in the United States by Gülen opponents in order to discredit and cause fear mongering about him: One that the charter schools opened in various states by Turkish-Americans are connected to Gülen, and that they are spreading “Islamic fundamentalism.

Misreading Turkey’s Twitter Controversy

Gülen and the participants of the movement he helped create have no interest in the privileges of power, which is evident from their purposeful abstention from holding political office or negotiating for political advantage.

TİB conspired to libel Hizmet, tampered with system logs

An anonymous whistleblower from the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB), the agency responsible for carrying out legal wiretaps, sent an email to newspapers and TV stations on Tuesday claiming that there is a conspiracy to bring the Hizmet movement under suspicion of infiltrating the TİB.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Persecution In Turkey Left Kids With A Down Syndrome Suffering Tremendously

Turkey’s purges continue a year after failed coup

Swoboda says HSYK legislation an outright attack on rule of law

Turkish court: There is no Gulen terror organization

The Mystery of Turkey’s Failed Coup

Kimse Yok Mu helps 2 mln people across the world during Ramadan

Bank Asya’s corporate governance rating increases

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News