Gov’t lifts confidentiality of MGK docs for publishing in partisan press


Date posted: December 23, 2013

İSTANBUL

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government, which accused the Taraf daily of being a “traitor” for publishing secret state documents last month that include a covert plot against Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and the profiling of citizens, has lifted the confidentiality of some National Security Council (MGK) documents to be released by its partisan media outlets.

The Taraf daily published several MGK documents dated Aug. 25, 2004 on Nov. 28 and in early December which revealed a secret plot against the Gülen movement and indicated that the Prime Ministry and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had categorized, classified, profiled and blacklisted citizens, particularly those who have a connection to religious groups. Later, the Prime Ministry, the MGK and MİT filed a joint complaint against the Taraf daily and journalist Mehmet Baransu, who reported on those documents.

During a speech on Dec. 7, Erdoğan said, “Exposing state secrets is not a freedom but absolutely treasonous to the country and homeland.”

However, Baransu published several documents in his column on Monday which reveal that the government had lifted the confidentiality of other MGK documents to be published in dailies close to the ruling party. According to Baransu’s column, the Prime Ministry Security Affairs General Directorate sent seven MGK documents to Prime Ministry Deputy Secretary Özer Kontoğlu on Dec. 2, asking for the lifting of the confidentiality of those documents.

Kontoğlu presented those documents to Prime Minister Erdoğan, who approved the lifting of the confidentiality of the documents. The confidentiality of nine other MGK documents was also later lifted in the same manner. Pro-government dailies such as Yeni Şafak, Akit, Sabah and Star published those documents starting from Dec. 3. Baransu stated in his report: “Erdoğan saved his partisan media outlets from being ‘traitors’ only one day before the dailies started to publish those documents.”

Stating that he had asked jurists about the removal of the confidentiality of MGK documents by the prime minister, Baransu said in his report: “I spoke to various jurists. The consensus was that the removal of the confidentiality of the MGK documents by Erdoğan is against the procedures to be applied to confidential documents which were adopted by the Cabinet in 1964. According to the procedures, the confidentiality of MGK decisions or Cabinet resolutions based on MGK decisions should first be lifted. The confidentiality of specific documents cannot just be removed with Erdoğan’s approval.”

Addressing Erdoğan, Baransu said: “You stated: ‘Releasing secret documents is a crime. Arrest this traitor [Baransu].’ After you, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç used similar words against me. Respected prime minister, you are lifting the confidentiality of the documents which serve your purposes and allow these documents to be released in your dailies. Is this not a practice of a parallel state? Are you trying to cover up the crime you committed against the public by lifting the confidentiality of some documents as part of a psychological operation?”

Source: Today's Zaman , December 23, 2013


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