Erdoğan says personally pursuing fight against ‘parallel structure’

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks at the presidential palace in this file photo. (Photo: Office of the President via Cihan)
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks at the presidential palace in this file photo. (Photo: Office of the President via Cihan)

Date posted: January 27, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan acknowledged during a speech on Tuesday that he has personally been pursuing a “fight” against the so-called “parallel structure,” adding that his administration is ready to cooperate with district governors to “clear” its members from state bureaucracy.

Speaking to the district governors at his presidential palace in Ankara on Tuesday, Erdoğan explicitly acknowledged his involvement in what he calls the fight against alleged sympathizers of the Hizmet movement, also known as the Gülen movement, in the state’s bureaucracy.

“We rapidly need to rid the bureaucracy of every single member of this structure, which poses a great threat to our state. I want you [district governors] to carry out careful work against the parallel state. You have my support. You can call my private secretary any time and give any information you have. Because, I am personally pursuing this fight,” Erdoğan stated.

The “parallel structure” is a term invented by Erdoğan to refer to followers of the Hizmet movement that was inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, particularly followers within the state’s bureaucracy. He made the elimination of the so-called parallel structure a priority after a major corruption scandal involving people in his inner circle erupted with a wave of detentions on Dec. 17, 2013.

The president also maintained that the main responsibility of the State Audit Institution (DDK), which is part of the President’s Office, is to closely examine every single state institution and detect those who have a connection to the Hizmet movement.

“The fight against the parallel structure is being closely followed by the National Security Council (MGK) and the DDK. This is an issue of national security,” Erdoğan added.

The president, who was prime minister at the time, framed the corruption investigation as a “plot against his government” by the Hizmet movement and foreign collaborators. At the same time, the government introduced laws to expand its grip on the judiciary. It banned Twitter and dismissed thousands of judges, prosecutors and police officers, including those who were involved in the investigation.

In a public speech made in May 2014, Erdoğan vowed “not to give even water” to the movement’s members. He also said that he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the Gülen movement. “If reassigning individuals who betray this country is called a witch hunt, then yes, we will carry out this witch hunt.”

Erdoğan also ordered officials from AK Party-run municipalities to seize land and buildings belonging to those inspired by the movement by any means necessary. The Gülen movement strongly denies the allegations of masterminding the graft investigations as part of an effort to overturn the government.

As part of the government’s fight against the Gülen movement, the Penal Courts of Peace were set up by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in June 2014.

Erdoğan to governors: Confiscate cars owned by HDP municipalities if needed

During the meeting at the presidential palace, Erdoğan also talked about the situation in southeastern Turkey, the scene of fierce clashes between the security forces and members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that have been going on for months.

Erdoğan accused the municipalities affiliated with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of being under the control of the PKK, adding that district governors are free to confiscate the official cars of those members if they needed the extra vehicles for their work.

“The terrorist organization [PKK] is carrying out a dirty war in the Southeast. [HDP] municipalities are completely under the control of them [PKK militants]. Moreover, we see that some public officials openly support them. Our security forces are currently carrying out careful operations to clear the region of them. You [district governors] also have an important job to do. You need to take action and repair the damage in the region. If necessary, confiscate their vehicles or use other institution’s vehicles,” Erdoğan stated.

A large number of civilians have been killed in confrontations between security forces and the PKK in southeastern towns and cities since a fragile cease-fire collapsed in late July 2015. Curfews lasting weeks have been imposed on several particularly tense districts in the provinces of Diyarbakır, Hakkari, Mardin, Şırnak and Van.

Source: Today's Zaman , January 26, 2016

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