Erdoğan put under the spotlight US Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone by stating: “Recently, very strangely, ambassadors have gotten involved in some provocative acts. I am calling on them from here to do your job. If you leave your area of duty, this could extend into our government’s area of jurisdiction. We do not have to keep you in our country.” These caustic sentences prove that the AK Party has decided to declare a war not only against the Hizmet movement but also to provoke tensions with the US. Since they have opted for a defensive attack strategy, this reaction does not surprise anyone.
THY significantly slashed its number of subscriptions to the aforementioned newspapers following an open disagreement between the government — which had made a decision to shut down prep schools — and the dailies, which held a critical editorial stance against the move. The numbers of these newspapers were lowered in THY’s private “Commercially Important Persons” lounge.
When asked to address claims that he is supported by the Hizmet movement led by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, Sarıgül said he is at peace with all segments of society and that he would be grateful for the support of anyone who gives it.
There have been many moves of interference with an investigation where four ministers and their kids are being accused and concrete evidence and documents present a grave situation. In these first days of the investigation, the police chiefs and authorities were removed, new prosecutors were appointed, police authorities were reappointed all over Turkey, everybody covering the issue including the media is being strongly suppressed, innocent people are being insulted and accused of forming a gang. All of this is being done to cover up the corruption.
Erdoğan’s government has removed around 113 police chiefs from their posts in a major overhaul and issued a decree that dealt a serious blow to judicial independence since the operation, which targeted some members of his inner circle, was initiated on Dec. 17. All these draconian measures taken by the government are intended to prevent the police and judiciary from carrying out criminal investigations without the government’s — i.e., the executive’s — knowledge.
” When all the dust settles in the aftermath of corruption, money laundering and racketeering involving higher-ups in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), we will have the chance to lay the foundation for a democracy by consensus, which is the only way to rule a large country like Turkey with a relatively young population and rising middle class.”
Fethullah Gülen has strongly criticized remarks that insulted members of the Hizmet movement, saying that these kind of behavior won’t solve problems. Gülen didn’t directly mention Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s name, but it was obvious that he was responding to the prime minister’s remarks on Friday, when he said the government will “come down to your caverns and tear you to shreds.”
The protestors held up a banner bearing the picture of Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gülen saying that he despises the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. “Pick up your traitorous comrades and your prep schools, and get out of here, go to Israel, the US,” the script at the bottom of the banner said. The protest followed a series of public remarks over the weekend by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who attacked Zaman without mentioning it by name.
While the government works to finish off the Hizmet movement, it may even call for the expulsion of the US ambassador from the country. The real duty of Halkbank is to act as Iran’s opening door to the world, and the US blockade has been violated for years. We learned that the pro-government media is allergic to shoe boxes [money used in alleged bribery was found in shoe boxes in one of the suspects’ homes].
The resignation of İstanbul deputy Hakan Şükür from his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is not an ordinary resignation. It is the most serious incident that disrupts the prestige of the AK Party in the eyes of pious voters.
Şükür’s statement about his resignation must be carefully studied. This statement explains the Hizmet movement’s perspective regarding the recent row between the government and the Hizmet community for the first time and with a clear wording.
Responding to the allegation that the Hizmet community is behind the investigation, and to a broader one suggesting that the Hizmet movement is fighting the AKP government, both Mr. Gülen himself and the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), based in İstanbul, denied any such motivation or involvement. Furthermore, they invited the state authorities to prove those allegations, and take legal action if any evidence is found substantiating them. Mr. Gülen’s lawyer condemned and rejected the allegations as an attempt to divert public attention away from the massive bribery scandal and defame his client.
So, as expected, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared all-out war. The enemy — what he and his advisers regard as “the junta formation within the police,” the media, the judiciary, the American Embassy, affiliates of the mainly volunteer Hizmet movement, and, well, whoever seems to disagree with the way he intends to run the country and whoever tends to believe there is no smoke without fire — have dug their trenches in a circle.
What does this corruption investigation has anything to do with the AKP-Gülen Movement tension? Well, the prosecutor who apparently led this investigation in big secrecy, Zekeriya Öz, is believed to be a member of the movement. Corruption is a serious matter and the real best defense would be to help bring those who are charged to justice. Meanwhile, the Gülen Movement, normally a civil society group, should help save itself from the image of secrecy and infiltration that it has been drawn into in the past decade.
We are going through a very critical period. We need the common sense and support of all the precious members of the Hizmet movement as we have never needed them before. We must protect our democratic gains. I pen this article as a person who closely sided with the Hizmet movement during the attacks of Ergenekon — a clandestine organization nested within the state trying to overthrow or manipulate the democratically elected government — and the deep state, and who backed its justified objections to the government’s plan to shut down the prep schools.