AK Party’s social media instructions to ministries raise questions of legality


Date posted: November 20, 2013

Instructions sent to ministries by the ruling AK Party on Monday regarding what and how to share thoughts on social media go against the legal and democratic structure of Turkey as well as the separation of powers, lawyers say.

The Taraf daily reported on the written instructions sent in an email to social media coordinators at government ministries by the AK Party’s media coordinator, Burak Gültekin. The instructions provide suggestions to civil servants on what to post on Twitter related to the prep school row that has been growing following the leak of the government’s draft law to close private prep schools across Turkey.

Millions of citizens have posted tweets with the hashtag #dershaneylehgelenadalet criticizing the government’s plan to close prep schools since it was revealed on Thursday. In an effort to mobilize not only party members but also civil servants, the AK Party apparently sent written instructions to ministries, which by law should remain independent of party politics.

Günal Kurşun, president of the Human Rights Agenda Association (İHGD) and professor of law at Çukurova University, told Today’s Zaman on Tuesday that such a move is against both laws and the principle of the separation of powers. Criticizing the AK Party’s effort to mobilize civil servants, Kurşun said, “The AK Party has rapidly been turning into the CHP [Republican People’s Party] of the 1940s,” referring to the single-party era of the republic. Stating that in 1940s, as the state was equal to the party, the CHP was equal to the state.

As a result, according to Dr. Kurşun, any criticism of the party is then considered criticism of the state.

During the ongoing prep school debate, hashtags like “#DershaneyleGelenADALET” and “#EğitimdeReformYalanı” have become worldwide trending topics due to the growing reaction to the government’s plan to shut down these educational institutions without any public discussion.

The email from Gültekin read as follows: “Dear ministry social media coordinator, Attached please see a note on prep schools. We will focus on the prep school issue at 8:30 tonight on Twitter.” The attachment included templates for tweets that are expected to be posted on the Internet. Some of them include content teasing the Hizmet movement and the Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, since they are considered pioneers in the prep school field.

Reşat Petek, a retired prosecutor and currently a practicing attorney, told Today’s Zaman on Tuesday that the way in which ministry officials can be instructed is determined by law, with no exceptions for any institution. “The ministries receive instructions from the office of the prime minister according to the hierarchical order,” Petek pointed out.

On Monday members of Parliament from the AK Party were also sent similar instructions. An email sent by the media advisor of the AK Party parliamentary group, İrem Sarp, told deputies about the Twitter campaign regarding the prep school debate and offered suggestions on what to post.

Source: Today's Zaman , November 19, 2013


Related News

Academic Freedom in Turkey Under Seige

It appears that Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based Islamic preacher from Turkey who promotes peace and tolerance, and the schools associated with his religious Hizmet movement can’t get a break. Now, Gülen’s schools are being targeted in his home country by the Turkish government’s ruling Justice and Development Party, known as the AKP, which should dispel any notion in the U.S. that the AKP is somehow in cahoots with the Gülen movement.

Zaman Editor-in-Chief: Turkish government no longer democratic

Ekrem Dumanlı was arrested on December 14, part of a series of coordinated raids by Turkish authorities against a number of prominent media figures, all facing charges of belonging to a terrorist “parallel organization.” The organization in question? Fethullah Gülen’s outlawed Hizmet movement.

Religion and Politics in Turkey: To Talk or Not to Talk

The involvement of religious figures in the public discourse has been a part of the American political scene for decades. It did not make the United States a theocracy then, and it does not make it now.

An Indian professor’s reflections on Erdogan’s visit to India, crackdown on Gulen movement

There has been no evidence of any terrorist activity by the followers of Gulen in any part of the world including Turkey. In India, they have been running their institutions: schools, coaching Institutes, and dormitories for more than 15 years, but none has been accused of any kind of terrorism and crime.

Dismissed top editor of Zaman: We made a mistake by not objecting to the imprisonment of journalists

Journalist Abdulhamit Bilici, who was dismissed as editor-in-chief of Zaman said the Zaman daily should have kept its distance from the ruling AKP. He also said his media group made a mistake by not objecting to the imprisonment of journalists in the late 2000s.

Fethullah Gulen’s Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey

Saturday is a sad moment in Turkish history as it marks one year since the deplorable coup attempt that resulted in the death of hundreds and injuries of thousands. On this occasion I reiterate my condemnation of the despicable putsch and its perpetrators, and extend my sincere condolences to the families and loved ones affected by this horrible tragedy.

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

Connecticut chapter of Peace Islands Institute promotes peace by bringing people together

Gülen’s lawyer to sue daily Sabah over black propaganda

Gulen wants Anatolian [interpretation of] Islam

So you say Fethullah Gülen is a terrorist?

Georgia refuses refugee status to detained ‘Gülen school manager’

German intel expert says, based on CIA, BND reports, Erdoğan was behind failed coup

US assures private schools are under legal protection against closure

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News