‘Parallel’ inspection launched against prominent Jewish-Turkish businessman İshak Alaton

İshak Alaton. (Photo: Today's Zaman)
İshak Alaton. (Photo: Today's Zaman)


Date posted: September 21, 2015

The Bureau for Crimes against the Constitutional Order of the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an inspection of the companies run by Alarko Holding’s executive board chairman and prominent Jewish Turkish businessman İshak Alaton on charges of supporting the so-called “parallel state,” a daily reported on Tuesday.

The term “parallel state” or “structure” is generally used by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his associates in the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to refer to the Gülen movement, or Hizmet movement, inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. Erdoğan began using the phrase after a corruption scandal involving members of his family and inner circle within the AK Party went public on Dec. 17, 2013. He claims members of a “parallel structure” within the state organized the graft probe in an effort to overthrow the AK Party government.

The Sözcü daily’s report revealed that the bureau launched the inspection into Alaton after Doğan Kasadolu, a former senior executive at Alarko Holding, filed a criminal complaint against him, alleging that he admits his involvement in the parallel state in a biography titled “Lüzumsuz Adam” (Non-essential Man), written by Mehmet Gündem in 2013.

According to Sözcü, the inspection, which began a year ago and has only now been revealed, might lead to an investigation, as the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office did not issue an accompanying verdict of non-prosecution.

Kasadolu claims Alaton expresses support in the book for Turkish schools established abroad by educators inspired by the Gülen movement, in a chapter where Alaton tells the story of the establishment of a school in Moscow and relates his response to a question asked by Russian officials about the Gülen movement and schools.

The Gülen movement, which deals mainly in education and interfaith dialogue in Turkey and around the world, was known to once be supportive of the AK Party, especially during its first two terms, as the ruling party carefully guided the country from the grip of military tutelage and nudged it toward increasingly democratic rule and the values of the European Union. However, ties between the AK Party and the civil society organization were all but destroyed after the December 2013 graft investigation. Many believe Erdoğan is targeting the Gülen movement by accusing it of forming a “parallel structure” to shift focus away from the graft allegations.

Kasadolu claims Garih murder investigation obstructed by Alaton, contradicting earlier remarks

The Sözcü story also reveals that Alaton might also be charged with obstructing the investigation into the 2001 murder of Üzeyir Garih, the founder of Alarko Holding. According to Kasadolu, Alaton, with help from members of the “parallel state” in the judiciary, prevented prosecutors from thoroughly investigating the murder.

Garih was found murdered in a Muslim cemetery in İstanbul’s Eyüp district in August 2001. Yener Yermez, the main suspect, was sentenced to life without parole in 2003 by the Eyüp 2nd High Criminal Court. The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals in October of the same year, but the organization that planned the murder was never exposed.

However, during an interview with the Yeni Şafak daily in 2008, Kasadolu claimed the Ergenekon clandestine network may have carried out the murder, and was ready to testify as a witness when the network was on trial. “On the day of the murder, individuals in police uniforms kidnapped Garih’s grandson and threatened the family, warning it not to dig too far into the assassination,” he said during the interview.

Members of Ergenekon were nested within the state hierarchy and tried for murders and destroying the public order ultimately aimed at overthrowing the government. In July 2008, the Garih murder was included in the Ergenekon indictment. Nearly 300 defendants in the Ergenekon trial, including former army officers and a former chief of General Staff, were convicted by a court in August 2014 and handed down heavy sentences, including life imprisonment. However, all convicted were acquitted by another court in 2014.

Source: Today's Zaman


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