Date posted: December 10, 2013
The Taraf daily and journalist Mehmet Baransu have filed a criminal complaint against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over charges of involvement in an “attempt to influence a fair trial,” slander and insult. The daily and Baransu also filed a TL 50,000 compensation case against PM Erdoğan for non-pecuniary damages.
Taraf’s and Baransu’s lawyer, Veysel Ok, who submitted a petition to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, said in the petition that Prime Minister Erdoğan had accused Taraf and Baransu of treason over a news article they wrote, titled “The decision to finish off Gülen was made at 2004’s MGK [National Security Council],” and had made slanderous and insulting remarks about the journalist and the daily during a speech in Tekirdağ on Dec. 7.
Earlier this month, Taraf published news reports that included controversial MGK documents showing that Erdoğan’s government was involved in profiling individuals from various religious groups and had undersigned a covert plot against Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet movement inspired by Gülen. The publication of the MGK records by Taraf drew strong reactions from Erdoğan, who said those documents were state secrets and publishing them is thus an act of treason.
Speaking to a crowd of supporters in Tekirdağ, Erdoğan made reference to the leaked confidential documents that Taraf had published and said: “I now see that some media groups are working hand-in-hand. These groups couldn’t even come together until recently. Exposing state secrets is not a freedom but absolutely treasonous to the country and homeland.”
Noting that there was confidentiality involved in the MGK decisions, Erdoğan said: “The state also has privacy just like families. When you violate this, the judiciary has to take the necessary action. If the judiciary does not perform its duty, then it is committing a constitutional crime.”
Just one day before Erdoğan’s speech, prosecutors launched an investigation into Taraf and Baransu for publishing the leaked national security documents.
The petition also said that although Erdoğan is critical of Taraf’s report on the MGK documents, he refused to call out a similar report published by the Akit daily on April 29, 2010, which revealed that Turkey’s intelligence organization was involved in profiling individuals close to religious groups.
Source: Today's Zaman , December 10, 2013