Date posted: January 14, 2014
The voice recordings of four phone calls made to Fethullah Gülen were posted on the Internet at midnight on Monday. As you know, Gülen lives in the US. Those who phoned him are some executives from institutions established and run by the people who are inspired by the Hizmet movement in Turkey. The calls do not have any incriminating content. Rather, one of these unlawfully wiretapped recordings exposes how the Hizmet movement was targeted in a conspiracy by circles close to the government.
Thus, the phone call between a senior executive of Bank Asya, a bank run by businessmen who are close to the Hizmet movement, and Gülen reveals that there were efforts by the government to sink this private bank. Actually, the call is about this conspiracy. The executives of Bank Asya, which is Turkey’s biggest participation bank, came up with a number of measures against the government’s conspiracy to sink the bank, and they consulted with Gülen, the spiritual leader of the Hizmet movement, concerning these measures. No offense or illegality was involved.
On the contrary, it is a legitimate defense within the framework of the law and legitimacy against an unlawful attempt by the government, one that would be tantamount to a grave offense in an ordinary state governed by the rule of law. The government’s attempt to sink a financial institution with complete disregard for the law, the rule of law, a free market economy and other universal values will be addressed by the courts sooner or later.
You cannot find any incriminating content in Gülen’s international phone conversations –which were illegally wiretapped, but there is a full-fledged scandal at hand. Rest assured that this scandal is the work of the “real parallel state,” which accused and denigrated innocent people of being a “parallel state” without any evidence or judicial investigation and labeled them a terrorist organization while also arbitrarily purging thousands of public servants. Indeed, a legitimately and lawfully acting government cannot be expected to carry out a massive reshuffle of public servants unlawfully and based on pure conjecture. A government that sticks to the law in its actions cannot behave contrary to the Constitution by breaching the freedom of communication. It cannot illegally wiretap its citizens and it cannot make these recordings public. The “real parallel state” that renounces any compliance with the law and the principle of privacy was caught red-handed with this wiretapping scandal. Indeed, it exposed itself.
There had been concerns about the government’s tendency to place the core of the state apparatus on top of the intelligence organization (Mukhabarat), as is the case with Syria and the old Iraq, in parallel to its efforts to bring the legislative and judicial branches under the strict control of the executive branch. This illegal wiretapping scandal clearly shows the true nature of the Mukhabarat state which is under construction in Turkey in the march toward single-man/single-party rule. The common perception is that it was the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) that wiretapped Gülen’s phone conversations and that these wiretapped calls were posted in the wake of the purge at the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB).
So we are urged to ask: Were Gülen’s phone conversations unlawfully wiretapped and exposed within the knowledge of the prime minister, who is known to be a micromanager? Was the president informed about it? If they were informed, they must publicly explain the reason why. If they were not informed, aren’t they supposed to ensure that public officials who unlawfully wiretapped these calls and posted them on the Internet are found out and prosecuted?
It is obvious that the voice recordings were made in an organized and coordinated manner and that they were dispatched to certain people or groups before being posted on the Internet. The fact is that the Yeni Akit newspaper, famous for not covering many major developments because it goes to print at an early hour, reported the unlawfully wiretapped voice recordings on its front page. Apparently, there is well-established communication and cooperation between MİT, which is suspected of wiretapping and uploading the calls in question, and Yeni Akit. Actually, it is not surprising in the least for Yeni Akit to volunteer to be the hitman for MİT, as it is famous for the lowliest forms of character assassination.
Those who unlawfully wiretapped Gülen’s phone calls give us hints as to who might be involved in the many past scandals about illegally obtained voice recordings and sex tapes concerning certain critical public figures. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his close circles have been suggesting directly or by implication that the Hizmet movement was behind these scandals. But the recent scandal refuted their allegations and open slander. We can expect anything from those who did not hesitate to use the secretly taped videos of Deniz Baykal, the former chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), during election rallies. The fact that those who recorded and posted on the Internet sex tapes featuring Baykal and a number of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputies have not been identified despite three years having gone by has brought the government under suspicion. The posting of Gülen’s unlawfully wiretapped calls on the Internet has lent credit to this suspicion. Thus, the perpetrators of the unlawfully recorded or videotaped talks or images that might be exposed in the future have become obvious.
The damage done to the country by the Mukhabarat state, devised through the agency of MİT, which has evolved into a Leviathan thanks to the bills that afforded comprehensive protection, is terrifying. How many leading public figures are being unlawfully wiretapped by MİT? Perhaps thousands of people are being monitored just like Gülen by MİT, and it appears that MİT’s ineptitude regarding the Uludere tragedy (in which 34 civilians were mistaken for terrorists and killed by military airstrikes in Şırnak’s Uludere district, due to false intelligence), the bugs found at the Prime Ministry and similar unsolved events was deliberate. Or MİT is investing so heavily in tracking innocent people that it cannot find the time or resources to do its proper job.
What do officials plan to do against this illegality? Do the president, Parliament and relevant authorities plan to do anything about this unlawful act by the people and groups that unlawfully wiretap and expose phone talks in a manner favorable to the government? Will they just sit and watch how this beautiful country turns into a fifth-class tribal state where arbitrariness and unlawfulness and the disregard for the law become new norms? Will they turn a blind eye to the fact that the recent incident runs contrary to the Constitution?
Those who value fundamental legal principles and the Constitution cannot keep silent regarding the open violation of the Constitution. Indeed, Article 20 of the Constitution states: “Everyone has the right to demand respect for his or her private and family life. The privacy of an individual or family life cannot be violated,” and Article 22 reads: “Everyone has the right to freedom of communication. The secrecy of communication is fundamental,” and Article 25 puts forward: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and opinion. No one shall be compelled to reveal his thoughts and opinions for any reason or purpose, nor shall anyone be blamed or accused on account of his thoughts and opinions.” These provisions clearly indicate that the unlawful wiretapping and disclosure of phone calls is an open constitutional crime.
A country where no legal or constitutional guarantee is implemented for the rights of any person and where individual rights and freedoms are ruthlessly violated with political considerations can be described using many unfavorable definitions, but it can never be defined as a liberal democracy governed by the rule of law.
Source: Todays Zaman , January 14, 2014