Ahmet Şık's defence statement of 25 December

Ahmet Şık’s Statement, December 24-25 Trial

On November 23, 2017, in the beginning of the legal year, President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, İsmail Rüştü Cirit, stated some very striking facts. He declared that according to the 2016 criminal records, there are approximately 6 million 900 thousand suspects, within our country’s population of 80 million. Cirit said, “This shows that in Turkey, when we compare to the total population, 8 in 100 people are suspects, which is quite high. There are initial level investigations being conducted on all of these suspects,”

Evaluation of these statistics, a country where 8% of its population is considered suspects, shows a very high ratio. But, we should correct Cirit’s simplified calculations.

That is to say:

If we consider those within the 0-15 age group and those who cannot be held accountable by law due to mental disabilities, these make up 25% of the entire population. Another 10% is composed of those with various physical disabilities or who are bedridden and are physically unable to commit a crime.

When we discount those who fall into these categories, there are approximately 50 million people who can be held accountable for crimes.

If there are approximately 7 million suspects, as the President of the Supreme Court of Appeals declared, it means that 15% of the population are seen as suspects by the government. In other words, one in 7 people on the streets is a suspect.

Using these facts, we can portray the current situation in Turkey as follows:

Depending on majoritarianism as opposed to pluralism, the current government treats and views every citizen who does not agree with them as terrorists.

There is a judicial system, under the control of the current government, that transforms all suspicions of terrorism into outrageous charges.

There is the media which hides facts and consequently, are accomplices in ruining our common future.

There is a silent majority which remains in a web of silence as everything happens in front of their eyes because they are scared for their well-being or afraid that their comfortable lives will be disrupted.

Within this current situation, under a dictatorial regime which feeds off violence and is based on cruelty and oppression, naturally the only that thrives is evil.

It is not the type of evil that requires intelligence or talent. It is an ordinary evil due to being power hungry.

They are evil. They know that they are evil. And this makes them even more evil.

Those who have created this dark climate are trying to delay the consequences of confronting themselves and their malice by accusing those who will reveal their guilt.

The AKP’s most effective and strongest weapon in creating this environment is undeniably its media.Media, through confiscations and buy offs, was constructed as the voice of the current government. However, they needed to bring the mainstream media groups over to their side since they themselves did not possess the skills to impact the public opinion.

The AKP rule designed majority of the media through the great help of its once ally and now most ferocious enemy, the Gulen Cemaat, to reach their common goals.

Although, now, seen as a conspiracy, the chain of trials and investigations of the Gulen Sect, played a key part in this design. The AKP covered up its complicity through its power and oppressive regime. Currently, by using the word “FETOist” ( FETO (Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organization)) people can be rendered ineffective; back then, the word that was used for similar reasons was “Ergenekonist.” (following Ergenekon). Even if people were not arrested, the media was undermined and silenced through defamation.

The Sect’s organized network within the police and judicial organizations, with the help and support of the ruling party, succeeded in silencing the “unwanted voices.” The media owned by powerful holdings supporting the government were awarded with government bids and the others were penalized by tax penalties. Columnists, TV anchors, and managers, acting as commissioners of the ruling party were assigned to each of the media organizations.

The columnists and TV persons who wrote or spoke against the government were dismissed and it is still continuing.

If we express it with the words of the “puppet expert witness,” Ünal Aydemir:

“In this age, a media which has been used as a secret weapon of the psychological warfare and asymmetric war tactic as a means to enforce and manipulate, has been created. It has been employed to impact and guide the public opinion and confuse the minds of the undecided.

Political opponents were weakened and worn down by media manipulations in favor of the interest of the ruling government. Societal opposition has been criminalized and polarization of the public has been accelerated through tactics which could lead to chaos. A base for politics based on majoritarianism and which are off the books and against the constitution was prepared through questioning legitimate political means. The tool to accomplish their goals was the media. The ruling party, which was acting more like a gang only acting in its own interests, was moving along on the path paved by the media organizations.”

In summary, these statements from the report of the expert witness who was ordered with the goal of making “terrorists” out of us demonstrate the sad condition of the media supporting the current regime. It also explains the organizations you are seeking and the media groups who are accomplices to the crimes. And if we again state this in the words of your expert witness, “Covering the news by concealing the truth through manipulation to help interest groups in accomplishing their goals and objectives is not journalism.”

No one has the freedom to commit a crime. No one should. Journalists should not have it either. But, the alleged crimes are actually the regular activities as part of the job of a journalist. However, if journalists are deliberately producing fake news and concealing the truth, or in other words, if a journalist has devoted himself/herself to creating a perception dictated by the powerful, then, he/she can be accused of committing a crime.  In fact, he/she must be accused. But the ones that are judging and punishing them should be the readers/watchers and professional journalism organizations.

In other words, opposite to what you have been claiming, journalism is not a crime. You also know very well that to criminalize journalists’ duties is in fact the panic of those guilty ones who are afraid of the truth. Ones who know they cannot seize the truth will lie and continue to commit crimes.

The accusations you have made against us consist of news and commentaries which were neither refuted nor brought up in any lawsuits when they were initially published. You are trying in vain to create terrorists from professional activities.

If we have to be tried, we should be tried for not representing the truths when we could. Luckily, our record of professional activities is not blemished. In fact, that is why we are here.

Cumhuriyet was one of the only media organizations who resisted the current rule and the media it created and who became the spokesperson of the truth. It is not surprising that it became a target and was decided to be eliminated.

Because we already had a thick criminal record according to the government who existed as a malicious organization. The hatred towards us grew due to the news stories that were published on the Charlie Hebdo attack which was an assault on freedom of the press and on the corruption, pillage and criminal activities during the Syrian civil war. We should be punished for these acts. They only needed “Allah’s blessing.”(Quoted by Erdogan referring to the coup attempt). This “blessing”, was also realized when the July 15 coup attempt, which was a fight for power between two former accomplices, occured.

Even the imperfect and immature democracy was suspended. Those who were digging the graves of the rule of law which barely existed, eagerly participated in burying it without any hesitation.

What we have been living through in the past months in prison and in these courts demonstrate that the current situation in this country, is a representation of a political assault. In other words,what we are experiencing is a representation of a play where we are pretending that rule of law exists in a country, where everything supposedly exists.

The records of the investigation is the evidence of the conspiracy of this political assault.  This investigation file consists of examples of how rule of law is massacred and examples of  members of the law bending the rules according to the individuals

Even though it is obvious that this is a conspiracy based on lies, they are insisting on keeping us in prison and trying us in court based on crimes which are not infact crimes, evidences which are not real evidences, as forwarded against us the indictment. The marks that the media which has targeted the freedom of the press and has become the hitman for this assasination show how this conspiracy is set up.

I will explain all one by one. But first, let’s discuss a document which shows that those involved in the conspiracy against Cumhuriyet are merely a few civil servants.

However, a reminder is appropriate here since it is relevant.

Several examples of “copy-paste” methods were used by the judges and prosecutors to make their decisions without conducting any investigations on the files were brought to light during many trials and investigations. The supposedly independent and impartial judges and prosecutors following directions mandated to them committed these crimes knowing they would not be held accountable. They are still continuing to do this. For now, I will just remind them of the situation the judges and prosecutors from the Sect are currently in.

There are some of you who get mad when we tell them that these are bludgeons of the rulership where  judgements made at these trials  are not impartial and independent.  Let’s prove that you have no right to get mad by a document found in the investigation files.

When decisions were made on who to arrest during the Cumhuriyet operation, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor appealed to the Istanbul 5th Criminal Court of Peace. They requested permits from the judge to search, seize, and to charge through directing various accusations.  It was decided that Orhan Erinç, Akın Atalay, Önder Çelik, Turhan Günay, Bülent Yener, Günseli Özatalay, Bülent Utku, Aydın Engin, Murat Sabuncu, Hikmet Çetinkaya, Musa Kart, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Hakan Karasinir, Güray Öz ve Can Dündar would be arrested. Judge Cevdet Özcan from the Istanbul 5th Criminal Court of Peace gave permission to this application given on October 30, 2016.

As you know, the operations began during the early hours of October 31, 2016. All of the suspects, except for Can Dündar ve Akın Atalay who were out of the country, were taken into custody. Ones who were not at home went to the office of the attorney general. During this time, the mainstream media reports that Members of the Board of Directors of Cumhuriyet Foundation, Nebil Özgentürk, Müslüm Özışık ve Eser Sevinç have been taken into custody.

That same day, our lawyers submit a petition which includes objections to the arrests to the 5th Criminal Court of Peace. An appeal was also submitted for Nebil Özgentürk, Eser Sevinç ve Müslüm Özışık whose names were reported in the media since it was not clear whether there was a decision for their arrests, since the files were disclosed to the ruling media and not available for our lawyers.

Judge Cevdet Özcan of the Istanbul 5th Criminal Court of Peace rejected the objections stating that there were no mistakes during the operations. Judge Cevdet Özcan of the 5th Criminal Court of Peace did not even notice that a mistake was made when Sevinç, Özgentürk and Özışık were arrested when their names did not exist on the warrant he provided.

Similar to previous Court of Peace, the 6th Criminal Court of Peace declined the appeal of release of the same three names who weren’t detained at all.

Meanwhile, we must remind you that even though his name was not on the arrest warrant, Kadri Gursel was arrested in the afternoon of October 31, 2016.

Slide-4 A-B/1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8

Now, let’s describe the conspiracy within the investigation documents:

If we believe your prosecutor Murat Imam, who himself is accused of being part of “FETÖ” and has accused us of being part of “FETÖ”, the investigation began on August 18, 2016. According to the ex officio investigation proceedings, “News and commentaries made by some media organizations alleged that Cumhuriyet was taken over by the PKK and FETÖ/PDY terrorist organizations and that the newspaper was working in their interests.”

Slide-Minutes of ex offcifio invastigation 5-A

2 days before the July 15th coup attempt, on July 13, when columnist Aydın Engin’s column was titled “Peace in the world, well then what in the country?”, Prosecutor Inam found the missing piece. Because the ones who attempted the coup named themselves “Peace in the Country Council.” Apparently, these facts led to suspecting that the Cumhuriyet newspaper directors were had ties to the PKK and FETÖ terrorist organizations. And, apparently, this suspicion was sufficient for starting an investigation.

It is the Prosecutor Inam who surrendered himself first to the organization of a charlatan using religion as a means and then when the wind started blowing in the opposite direction to the other power that is making these statements. Prosecutor Inam, explains how Aydin Engin’s column’s title became evidence of his suspicions in the indictment as follows: “It has been deemed to be  quite meaningful and gripping and cannot be viewed as a simple coincidence”, “the title of the column cannot be a coincidence…”

Namely, “meaningful”, “cannot be a coincidence,” there is nothing else that “calls attention.”

Actually, the only thing that can be said for this accusation and mindset is that the fact that a prosecutor who is ignorant of the law and ones like him are part of the judicial system and involved in this case is “meaningful.”

The fact that a judicial system which accepts the following statement,”I was fooled”, as a political self-criticism and does not investigate the “I also helped them a lot,” confession is the whip of the government, proves that this cannot be a “coincedence” in a “striking” way.

Eight of the news articles and commentaries in the international media which helped form the Prosecutor’s suspicions were in fact published before August 18, 2016.

The prosecutor mentions the PKK in the accusations against Cumhuriyet. But none of the 8 articles he used as the foundation for his case have any statements on the relationship between Cumhuriyet and the PKK. There are lots of lies pertaining to FETÖ. In fact, the prosecutor mentions these two organizations, the PKK and FETÖ, in all of his correspondences during the investigations. The arrests are based on these claims. However, when the indictment was provided, another terrorist organization, DHKP-C, which had never been mentioned before was included. The only reason this organization was include in this conspiracy was based on a news story written by me. A news story based on a phone conversation with the members of DHKP-C who killed Mehmet Selim Kiraz.

I was arrested two months after this operation began on October 31, 2016, for advocating for DHKP-C in the form of propaganda. However, since I would not stay in prison for long based on this accusation, a few months later, I was added to the main lawsuit against Cumhuriyet by changing the type of the crime I was originally accused of. This way, with the addition of DHKP-C, which was not part of the original investigation, the “organization cocktail ” indictment was completed.

To blame all the suspects based on a story for which I was solely responsible is not the only unlawful action.

There is also the crime of unlawfully removing the decision on a previous dismissed case on the same news article. The guilty prosecutor is Fahrettin Kemal Yerli. We have already explained how this crime was committed in your court. However, your delegation working to make terrorists out of professional activities of journalists, turned a blind eye to this crime. So let’s ask: Do your prosecutors have the right to commit crimes? Who are the managers and organizations which provide this freedom? And you, who claim to be impartial and independent, will you take this claim that was illegally fabricated into consideration?

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When we follow the footsteps of the conspirators, we understand how this conspiracy was brought to life step by step.  The portrait that becomes apparent is as follows:

Cumhuriyet is a newspaper which employs journalists who have earned the hatred of the government and specifically Recep Tayyip Erdogan and were decided to be silenced and placed in prison for a long time. Alev Coşkun, a stakeholder in the internal affairs and power struggles within the newspaper, used this hatred towards her own benefit and ambitions. He sent an incriminating letter to the President’s Office on March 22, 2016 based on criminalizing the elections which determined the members of the board of directors with slander and baseless accusations.

Slide-Letters by Alev Coşkunto be shown as slides

Plans and documents began to be formed on “enemies” which were decided to be dismissed began after the July 15th coup attempt which was seen as “Allah’s Blessing.” The letters by Alev Coskun on the board elections were used to build a case against Cumhuriyet.

During these conspiracy trials fake incriminating letters and emails (which were tactics frequently used by the Sect) were replaced by the “complaints” brought to BIMER (Prime Minister’s Communication Center). In fact, these “complaints” made to BIMER would be used to form a basis of the unlawful accusations against Cumhuriyet.

The first complaint sent on July 19, 2016 by a person who hid his/her name accused the Cumhuriyet Newspaper of supporting FETO (Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organization):

«The Cumhuriyet Newspaper distorted the news related to the July 15th coup, made manipulative news by protecting FETO and its members, shamelessly excluding them from the coup attempt.”

In addition to establishing such a sentence that reverses grammatical rules, he proved himself to be the competitor to the prosecutors who manage this lawsuit with the accusations he directed. This complaint was added to the Cumhuriyet file on 14th November 2016.

Slide-BİMER complaint 6-A-B-C

The date of the second complaint made via BİMER is August 14, 2016. Our informant is not secret this time, he is called Turan Kılıç. Turan Kılıç, who sent his greeting and prayers to the respectable state elders and tried to prove that he was religious by saying «Amen» but committing the sin of blatantly lying. In the indictment, the following complaints, which were presented as accusations towards us, are listed:

«Cumhuriyet Newspaper makes a fuss over Turkey’s support of ISIS. And it was finding the Turkish Government responsible for this.”

The informant, who proves that he has the same point of view with the prosecutors, said that he got the «information» by reading from the press he followed. If he were  Prosecutor Murat İnam, he would surely start the investigation with the following words: «in some articles and news in the media…» This thinking, which is not different from the prosecutor, is also revealed in the following sentences:

«The reason the newspaper was so clear was because the traitors who attempted the coup on July 15th, helped both ISIS and the Cumhuriyet Newspaper by supporting  them with news, … Cumhuriyet Newspaper published news and publications about HDP (People’s Democratic Party) justly, kindly and sincerely. »

Fortunately, our informer is more merciful than the prosecutors who included the criminal charge of «showing terrorist organizations as charming!» in the indictment. He does not say “terrorist organization” but says HDP. This complaint is also merged with the main file by Prosecutor Murat İnam on 12th October 2016. We understand from the correspondence and documents that the informant deposed as the title of complainant on September 29, 2016.

Let’s see who is this person that the prosecutors have taken so seriously. The results of a simple internet search of our informant also gives us an idea about the address of the person who gave the order for the Cumhuriyet operation. Three of the likes at Turan Kılıç’s Facebook profile are:

* On the way of our Chief, target 2023.
* We are the grandsons of the Ottomans.
* President RTE (Initials of Recep Tayyip Erdogan).

Slide-BİMER /Turan Kilic
6-D, 6-E, 6-F, 6-G, 6-H

It is obvious that our informant is an AKP member and a loyal  «Chief fan».  The reason for this is not just the likes on Facebook. It is his own political preference of professional informant Turan Kılıç to be an AKP supporter. However, we have something to say about how seriously he must be taken as an informant.

We are also encountering Turan Kilic’s name, among the messages sent to the corporate e-mail accounts of the AKP, which was published by Wikileaks. On the 13th and 21st of June 2015, two e-mails sent to the AKP’s information hotline, outlined the results of the 7th June 2015 elections and explained the reasons for the party’s loss of votes:

Slides of e-mails

Turan Kılıç blames HDP for pressuring the people who were voting, but only 24 votes were for HDP out of 285, in the polls where he was serving as a polling clerk. Number of the AKP votes was 177. Number of the CHP and MHP votes was 32. But Turan Kılıç thinks that the HDP pressured the voters . Even, he summarizes what they should do during the elections in the East and South East as follows: «The polls must be installed in safe places. An open vote system must be provided.»

Another e-mail by Turan Kılıç is headed «Loss of votes and Its reasons». We can get a good idea of his mindset of this person who is taken seriously by the prescutors as an informant, in this email where he lists many reasons.

Turan Kılıç explains that the AKP has served more in cities such as Van and İzmir where there is a low vote level for the AKP and this matter has been ridiculed by the voters there.

«As an AKP fan, these make me extremely upset. I need to give my piece of mind to these shameless and degenerate people. Okay, I do not support oppression, but I think the proverb  «you get what you pay for» is very necessary here. They get the best service, but during the elections the opposition party gets the most of the votes. Is this ethical? »

From this point of view, let us also ask: «Is it ethical to consider such a person’s information, if he is not officially on the case?»

(Slide)

Pandora’s box has been opened and there is a complaint on the e-mail notification line of the Anti-Terrorism Department on 14th August 2016. This complaint, made by an informant whose identity is unknown, is about a video news broadcast on the Cumhuriyet internet newspaper.

The same day, a complaint complaint about a news announcement shared by Cumhuriyet’s Twitter account was directed to the Chief of Cyber Crimes Department for further investigation. Let’s watch this video, titled «The jihadists are on the streets with guns.»

Video of Jihadists on streets

This is the case! So, let’s read what is in the report of the Cyber Crime Unit: «A Provocative post to support the treacherous coup attempt by FETO …»

We do not know if any inquiries have been made about these warriors who have weapons and who have no authority to do this. But on January 13th 2017, this complaint was sent to the prosecutor for review and added to the main file.

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A lawsuit was filed against the news published on the Cumhuriyet’s website, quoted from the newspaper, Yeni Özgür Politika. Adnan Yilmaz, one of the members of the Seferihisar judicial office, made a formal accusation application on the day after this publication on 21 December 2015. This news was an excerpt from the interview with Murat Karayilan who is one of the leaders of the PKK,  and it was published in some media outlets as well,  besides Cumhuriyet, but we do not know if there is any investigation about them. Almost a year after the complaint, on 14th November 2016, an indictment was filed against Serdar Eroglu, head of the Cumhuriyet internet newspaper, on charges of «Praising the Terrorist Organization». Just like the others, this became evidence in the main file of the Cumhuriyet investigation.

Slide 18 Serdar Eroglu indictment

Another complaint made through BIMER is about some of  tweets I posted from my Twitter account. In accordance with the Anadolu News Agency Gaziantep Branch employee Kerem Kocalar’s complaint on November 28th 2015, they began the process on November 2016. Gaziantep Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated the investigation on 17th November 2016 and prepared a summary of the proceedings based on the the 301st article, «publicly denigration of the state,» and asked for permission to begin the case from the Ministry of Justice.

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Due to the same posts, I was also accused in the investigation and was arrested by prosecutor Fahrettin Kemal Yerli, for making propaganda of a terrorist organization. The prosecution merged the two cases when they were notified that there could not be a second investigation for the same crime.

Slide 21

These are the efforts, through BİMER or similar methods, to form a basis for the operation against Cumhuriyet and us. It is as if someone hit a button and all of these unfortunate and bad events came in succession. Should we call these all the evils that we had in succession like someone has hit the button just a coincidence or meaningful?

We were talking about how the conspiracy was mounted and staged, let’s continue.

In order to show consistency of the charges to be directed, the internet archive was searched at this stage. There were searched conducted to match articles to the accusations in the indictment. There was no need to struggle too much. The lies of hitman of the ruling media or the AKP flank guards who take the place of Sect with MHP’s supporters and those who welter in the nationalist battle, were brought together and called «evidence».

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Archives were also scanned for news published in Cumhuriyet or on its website. A similar method was used by the Sect Gang during the ODA TV investigations. After entering keywords such as «Fethullah Gulen, Ergenekon, Balyoz» etc. in the search section of the ODA TV internet site, they used the news that they saw as evidence.

This method was also applied on the Cumhuriyet website. No matter who the accusation is directed against or what he accusation is, specific names or words are searched to help find articles which could be used as evidence of guilt.

Slide 25

According to the press law, within four months of the statutory time limit, any inquiries /comments that have not been filed, were included as criminal evidence in the file. If these articles/comments contain a crime, why didn’t your press prosecutors who came before Murat İnam take any action? Can they not be viewed as committing crimes of abuse/neglect of their duties?

Slide 26

The twitter tweets made by each of us were reviewed. Without even being sorted, without understanding of what we tried to explain, criminal evidence was created,

In the next step, the people employed in the ruling media from the hitman group, were put into action. They were ordered to write commentaries and articles which overlapped with causes of guilt which could be placed in the indictment and also published stories on on TV.

Slide 39

For a report that will form the most important basis of the conspiracy and the backbone of the indictment, there was an «expert» whose skills were known to your prosecutors. This so-called expert named Unal Aldemir, who was employed by the prosecutor to violate the law, has received training in informatics. In journalistic trial, he performed news text analysis. If we state this in a more clear way, the lies which were ordered was signed by a so-called expert.

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The so-called report, like the indictment, narrowed the journalism borders and set them back again, starting with a journalistic recipe in line with the spirit of the time. It ordered that many fundamental principles, such as the fact that the matter to be discussed had a bearing on the news, the public benefit, the duty of the press to conduct an audit on behalf of the public, were to be ignored. In the report, the new frontier of journalism in Turkey, is based on not reporting on the crimes of the AKP, it’s leader and related interests and power elites or on any news damaging the interests of the AKP power. Did you make any news which revealed the truth? According to the prosecutor, who led accusations from the report of the so called expert, this was not journalism, it was manipulation.

We do not know whether this report belongs to a counselor, a government commissioner, or a pro-government mediator. It may be one of the troll account owners who show up in the virtual world. The posts on Twitter accounts strengthens this ambiguity. It would be appropriate to say that your prosecutors, who rely on the so called expert’s report, are not so different than him.

Slide 42

Your prosecutors’ choice of experts is really weird. Your prosecutors, who chose a person who has an informatics background for the media report containing the news analysis, this time preferred a person, who claimed to be a transportation and logistics specialist, for the digital inspection report.

The name behind this strangeness is Fahrettin Kemal Yerli. Three months after my arrest, the prosecutor Yerli indicted the decision to confiscate my mobile phone, and he commissioned Bulent Tosun to make a digital review.

(Slide – Görevlendirme yazısı)

Bülent Tosun explains his expertise after his registration of the birth certificate on  «Expert Oath and Documents Delivery Minute» dated 15th March 2017: «Transportation, logistics specialist. He works as an English and German interpreter . »

Bülent Tosun also describes himself as a «Forensic Expert» on his personal social media accounts. He explained that he creates solutions for all kinds of transportation and logistics issues via air, land, sea, railway, and storage. Bülent Tosun’s undergraduate education is in economics, and the fact that he was chosen to conduct cell phone screening, I guess, seems not only strange to us.

Slide 43

The need for a «witness» to replicate the lies of the so-called expert, the so-called report, is also selected from employed hitmen. Latif Erdoğan and Huseyin Gulerce who are transferred to the AKP from the Sect, and Cem Kucuk fulfilled the orders. As the President of the Court, those you do not attribute these people as «gossip mongers», became the witnesses of your prosecutors. The indictment is formed with the lies of these witnesses, «you have not given legal value to what they say.»

I have explained one by one, how these three liar witnesses’ rubbish were placed in your indictment. I will not read the long text and take your time here to tell you how your prosecutors have placed baseless accusations of liar witnesses in the indictment. I will also give you a copy of this text that I have shown here as a slide.

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Your prosecutors either believe in lies or trust their false witnesses too much. If that was not the case, they wouldn’t try to arrest the courier of our newspaper Yavuz Yakiskan. Most likely, your false witnesses are told to testify according to a foretold scenario. We have no doubt that this is the case.

Huseyin Gulerce and Latif Erdogan testify that the Gulenists made payments to our newspaper, and the “courier” could have been used to transfer the money, according to what they asked to tell. Then, our newspaper’s only courier Yavuz Yakiskan’s name is identified, and the so-called investigation starts.

(Slide -58-59)

First proof that there is a predetermined scenario and the witnesses testify according to that scenario, is the correspondence related with Yavuz Yakiskan in the file. This correspondence, dated March 13, 2016, bears the signature of the chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan, the deputy chief prosecutor back then. This correspondence is also a part of another investigation on Cumhuriyet (2016/9898) as well as the main case. Yavuz Yakiskan’s name appears along with other eight Cumhuriyet employees and was remarked as courrier for the newspaper. And the court asked to determinethe mobile telephone numbers of eight Cumhuriyet employees and Mustafa Yildiz (alleged Istanbul Imam of FETO) from the Istanbul Counterterrorism Department..

(Slide-60)

We don’t know why Mustafa Yildiz, who is alleged as the FETO provincial Imam, is investigated together with the Cumhuriyet staff. However, prosecutor Irfan Fidan must be sure that he is somehow linked with Cumhuriyet staff as he is proceeding with the investigation like that. Yavuz Yakiskan is one of our co-workers who has been working as a courier for many years. All other people mentioned in the correspondence are Cumhuriyet’s executive staff. We don’t know why Yavuz’s name is among the names to be investigated, and we learn that he is investigated when he was taken into custody.

I don’t think it is just only meaningful for us that our friend Yavuz Yakiskan’s accusations are based on phone calls made by his son using a phone registered under Yavuz’s name. And, these phone calls are made with a Mustafa Yildiz, who only coincidentally has the same name with the aforementioned alleged FETO Imam.

Let’s keep going.

Based on the documents in the main case files, there hasn’t been any action taken on Yavuz Yakiskan for the first 8 months. Because the second document that mentions Yavuz’s name is dated November 28, 2016. Istanbul Counter Terrorism Department responds to Irfan Fidan’s request one month after the Cumhuriyet investigation was started; they identified the mobile and landline phone numbers of the requested individuals.

(Slide-61)

After this point your prosecutor Murat Inam, who is now a FETO suspect, takes the stage. One more person testified after Latif Erdogan (December 7, 2016) and Huseyin Gulerce (December 20, 2016) claimed that the Sect might have sent money with a courier. And, Cumhuriyet staff Aykut Kucukkaya testified as a witness on January 4, 2017.

Next day, on January 5, 2017, Murat Inam sent a request to Istanbul Counter Terrorism Department. He mentions that Yavuz Yakiskan’s name appears in witness’ statements, and requests all phone numbers registered on his name. He also requests investigation of any potential links with terrorist organizations, as well as usage of applications such as Bylock, Kakao, Eagle.

The witness statement that mentions Yavuz Yakiskan’s name belongs to Aykut Kucukkaya, who is a Cumhuriyet employee. Here is that part from his statement: “I know that he runs some errands at the newspaper. But I don’t know any of his other businesses. I don’t know anything about the financial stuff. I know that he works for Cumhuriyet for at least 10 years”.

From this sentences, we understand that Yavuz Yakiskan’s name is mentioned in Aykut Kucukkaya’s statement upon a question posed by the prosecutor Yasemin Baba. Looking at the answers, it seems like she asked “Who is the courier of Cumhuriyet?” or “What is the role of Yavuz Yakiskan at the newspaper?”. We can say that the question was directing the respondent to mention Yavuz’s name. This is what your prosecutor Murat Inam refers to as “Yavuz Yakiskan’s name is mentioned” in witness statements.

(Slide 62)

According to the documents included in the investigation files, Yavuz Yakiskan’s name is mentioned 8 more times in documents dated between January 11, 2017 and February 20, 2017. The correspondence that reveals how Yavuz Yakiskan’s accusation was made possible based on a scenario is as follows.

 

Of course, they found nothing. However, Yavuz Yakiskan was taken into custody on April 5, 2017 based on the claim that he contacted the so-called FETO’s provincial imam Mustafa Yildiz several times through the phone. If the trurth was not revealed, Yavuz would have been arrested based on this lie. However, the truth eventually reveals one way or the other, and this disrupted the scenario.

Surprisingly, the so-called FETO imam was just a friend of Yavuz’s son who was using the phone line registered under his father also coincidentally called Mustafa Yildiz. This basic truth was revealed upon our attorney’s close attention, although it could have been found out just with simple investigation. However, Yavuz is still referred to as a suspect.

By the way, those “simple investigations” were actually conducted. Lines registered under Yavuz Yakiskan and Mustafa Yildiz’s names were determined and the results of this investigation was included in the case files.

(Slide-63-70)

In other words, altough both Yavuz Yakiskan’s and the namesake of the so-called imam Mustafa Yildiz’s phone lines were determined, this information was kept as a secret as Yavuz was taken into custody.

(Slide-71-74)

There were no obstacles to stage the plot targeting Cumhuriyet and us. The order to start the process was given on October 31, 2016. Government-backed media takes the lead in “public justification” of this plot, which nobody were convinced. Including the prosecution stage, every stage of the operation against Cumhuriyet was performed at the media courts. I will explain those when it is time, but first let me go back to October 31, 2016.

Accusations that were first in the summary of proceedings, then appear in the indictment were published for the first time by a Twitter account named “tazemazi”. It was as if the users of this account acted on behalf of the expertise or the prosecutors. Confidentiality order that limits the right of defence for the accused and their attorneys was not available by the users of this social media account and the government-backed media.

Slide 75-96

Accusations directed by this social media account was covered the next day in Hilal Kaplan’s column in Sabah Newspaper, as if these were her personal opinions.

Slide 97

One could have explained the appearance of a social media troll’s disinformation on Hilal Kaplan’s column as a coincidence. However, the fact that this “tazemazi” Twitter account that spreads the disinformation is managed by Hilal Kaplan’s husband Suheyb Ogut, rules out this option. Also, Suheyb Ogut manages numerous troll accounts and websites publishing similar sort of information with the financial support from the Presidential Palace’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak. 23 separate troll accounts that were activated in between September 27, 2015 and September 20, 2016, are directed by “Global Relations Association” which is known as “Bogazici Global Relations Center”. The source of this information is the Bogazici Global Relations Foundation (founded by an academic called Idris Kardas in September 2015) and the troll accounts is Berat Albayrak’s emails leaked by the Redhack. An email Suheyb Ogut sent to Berat Albayrak on September 6, 2015, includes the draft bylaw, foundation document and recommendations for the board of directors for this organization founded to direct troll accounts to spread disinformation. Hilal Kaplan is also among those recommended for this foundation’s board of directors, together with her husband Ogut.

Under these circumstances, it is not a coincidence that a troll account’s claims appear in Hilal Kaplan’s column but it is rather a sense of mission. We should also add that the annual budget of this foundation directing the troll accounts is 1,724,000 TL, which is financed by the taxpayer’s money, as Suheyp Ogut’s email to Albayrak dated September 6, 2015 revealed.

Slide 98-105

Government-backed media spreads the lies that were initially published by the Twitter trolls who are again financed by the government-backed media.

Slide 106-109

Justice is allowing the articles they pre-ordered or leaking the information and documents in the files. Afterwards, they are using these news articles as evidence. Just like a boomerang.

However, the most meaningful part is the government’s prosecutors leaking these documents, which is deemed as “confidential” to a state-owned news agency

Slide 110

To lead a case using leaked documents came across again when my arrest on December 29, 2016 and my friend, Emre İper’s arrest, on April 6, 217.

Slide- 111-112

In fact, the prosecutor in charge of my case, Fahrettin Kemal Yerli, even asked questions based on the leaked documents which appeared as a news story.

Slide 113-114

Do not get upset that I am blaming your prosecutors for leaking documents. I wil give you another example.

The decision notebook of the Cumhuriyet’s Board of Directors of Cumhuriyet Foundation was given to the attorney general, Yasemin Baba by our lawyers on November 17, 2016.

Slide 115

This news story, which was deemed confidential to the suspects and their lawyers yet open to the pro-governmental, on this document, could be found on the Aksam newspaper on November 19, 2016.

Slide- 116-117

Our lawyer’s plea for a trial on this issue was rejected. In mafia terminology, this is called as the “Omerta Rule.”

Slide- 118-120

In the so-called confidential investigation, the information was published every day in various media outlets, the conversations with persons desired to be witnesses in the case also took place in the pro-governmental media. In fact, sentences which never took place in the conversation were included in the news. The conversation which was published in Sabah newspaper on November 7, 2016 carrying the signature of Isa Tatlıcan is the most striking.

This interview is evidence of the great abyss between the media employees and your prosecutor, Murat Inam, and their job’s professional ethical principles, in this conspiracy against Cumhuriyet.

Another person whose opinion was sought was Ceyhan Mumcu, known for his hatred of the editorial and administrative management of Cumhuriyet. Mumcu was made a witness shortly after the publication of the interview because certain parts of his words.

One of these was titled, “Can Dundar knew of the Coup.” Another statement of Mumcu was based on accusation that “a high level administrator at Cumhuriyet was “bringing in loads of money to Cumhuriyet.” His claim was, “We must investigate the source of this money.

Since he lived in Ankara, Ceyhan Mumcu’s statement was taken based on instructions, where 11 questions were sent by your prosecutor Murat Inam. The 9th question is on the loads of money brought to Cumhuriyet, as I mentioned before. Even though in the conversation no names are mentioned, Murat Inam’s question is as follows: “What is your information and evidence on the explanations you provided in the media on the money brought by Akin Atalay’s in a suitcase when Cumhuriyet was facing financial problems.”

Unfortunately, the shallow cunningness portrayed by Murat Inam in adding Akin Atalay’s name to the questions is not the only problem here. Ceyhan Mumcu stated “I do not have substantiated evidence” when asked about Can Dundar’s information about the coup and “I do not have such a declaration” when asked about the money issue.

In other words, Ceyhan Mumcu stated he did not use the expression which led him to be a witness in the case and that journalist Tatlican lied.

Your prosecutors, who include the refuted interview in the files, used our news articles that were not disputed nor prosecuted to accuse us. I will leave it up to you to decide waht to say about this pitiful situation.

Slide 121-125

There is a simple truth that comes out from these hearings. This case is a trial against those who are trying to reveal the criminal records of the ruling government.

But according to your claim, journalism is not on court. However I tried to explain how a conspiracy is being staged and is the proof that we are here because of our journalism activities.

This operation is a conspiracy conducted by members of the judicial system that are controlled by a gang who has taken over the government and their accomplices in the media to cover up the truth.

It is a crime committed against the truth, the freedom of thought and freedom of expression, destroying the freedom of the press. It is also reveals the fact that journalism is being politically limited and used for the benefits of a political gang.

They are trying to make examples out of us to make the public hostage to fear and this totally lacks dignity and is unjust.

It completely lacks any respect as they are trying to completely eliminate freedom of the press.

It is clear what they are trying to do with this operation:

They are trying to capture and make submissives of those that expose their crimes and those who are not of them. Their main aim is to eliminate democracy, basic rights and freedoms to continue their criminal regime.

This country’s, this public’s memory is a deep hole composed of things they do not want to remember, the alice they witness, yet pretend not to see, facts they are afraid to face.

If the conspirators have confidence in these deep memory holes, they are mistaken. Because everyone who took place in this operation, will be judged in front of the law, I am sure. And some of their crimes do not have statute of limitation.

The conspirators committed crimes against humanity and the truth. My only wish is that they are not tried in the courts similar to that of we have now. I hope they will find themselves in front of a truly just and impartial and independent court where the law is above all else.

No one should doubt that we will do our best to make sure that these conspirators are tried justly.

Because, as contrary to those who believe in the law of revenge, we would like to have fair and impartial justice even for our enemies.

Now lets talk about the facts why you put me in the target, arrested and why you are still keeping me in the prison.

I have said this many times before; I knew I was going to be arrested in 2015, I got the news before and I was threatened. You do not have to be a genius to guess this. Because I was continuing to do what I know best, which is my profession.

Practicing journalism focused on human rights has always been a core principle in Turkey, where there has never had a strong connection to democracy, and instead a long list of offenses against basic rights and freedoms. I personally penned many articles during times when the state turned into a criminal organization, during times of torture, disappearances, executions, and the evacuations and burnings of villages.

I have written stories that revealed the government’s use of self-granted powers to settle personal interests and profit under the auspices of the “war on terrorism”. I did this because I believed it was the duty and responsibility of journalists to uncover the truths covered by the powerful ruling elites. I still believe this. This is why I have always been one of those journalists who were threatened and targeted. I have been on trials many times just like I am now. My accusers have always been state institutions and powers. I have never been convicted because I have always been a journalist who rely on the truth, and the motives of my accusers have always been revealed.

What the many painful stories I have witnessed and reported, have taught me is never to believe what the state or the powerful say on the subject of basic rights and freedoms or their infringement. Within this context of lies, I have always tried to find out what hasn’t been said looking at what has been publicisized and believed that the proper way to conduct this profession is doing it with skepticism. In an undemocratic country without an impartial and independent judiciary like Turkey, it is my duty and responsibility to speak out when the powerful governments are trying to present their lies as reality.

On the other hand, I have never been a person who takes his mind and belief in justice, hostage to revenge, unlike you. Like the people who submitted to one of the sides during the war for power between the two gangs, I have not chosen to take sides. I continued to stress that AKP and the Gulen Sect should be tried together for the crimes they committed together. Therefore, I have not been one of the hatchet men who is regarded as a journalist only in the eyes of the government. And, I shall never be. So, it is not surprising that I am standing here before you.

In anti democratic countries, what scares the ruling elite most is the truth coming to light, resulting in equalizing the playing field. Therefore, they do not want the truth to be mentioned and be heard. They maintain the secrecy of their shady activities under the cover of governmental secrets. In other words, what is called governmental secrets are the polluted waters under the cover of law. The responsibility to find who are swimming in those waters falls on the journalists.

In addition to pillage and corruption, the period during which AKP polluted the waters most during its governance, was the activities that they performed according to the role given to them by imperialism during the civil war in Syria. The reason why I was threatened by death or by imprisonment was some news pieces I wrote on this subject in the newspaper Cumhuriyet. Let us recall some of these news pieces about the shady cooperation between MIT (Milli Istihbarat Teskilati= Turkish National Intelligence Agency) and the jihadist groups that participated in the Syrian civil war;

  • February 9, 2015: “We were going to take the arms to MIT.” Slide 126
  • February 13, 2015: “Gunfire support to the jihadis” Slide 127
  • February 14, 2015: “Secret on TIR revealed” Slide 128
  • February 15, 2015: “Turkish border is a smuggler base” Slide 129
  • June 4, 2015: “The day the state collapsed” Slide 130
  • June 5, 2015: “ The transport of jihadis by MIT” Slide 131
  • June 20, 2015: “ISIS is in Turkey, God protect you” Slide 132

Slide 133 -“Ours is journalism, yours’ is treason”
Slide 134 – Prosecutor Aziz Takci interview
Slide 135 – Prosecutor Aziz Taci interview 2

After the start of the publication of these news pieces, a person who works at MIT called me on the phone. He was saying that I was “in the parallel bloc” and also that “I belonged to the Gulen Sect”, as is also mentioned in your indictment. During this phone call that happened in February of 2015, he also mentioned that I would be imprisoned and be punished for these crimes.I just laughed at such outrageous accusations. But it will be beneficial to recall the dialogue which is important to show how deep the government is in trouble and the type of people it is cooperating with:

I said to the MIT employee on the phone: “First look at what you yourselves are doing. The smartasses you were dealing with are selling the arms and ammunition you sent them to other jihadist groups.” Here is his reply: “We know. We determined who they are. We ended the cooperation.” Is it this simple?

After this phone call, threats started through the social media. What started this was a newspaper named “Vahdet”. It is required at this point to elaborate somewhat more on this newspaper which undertook the role of being the hitmen man of MIT.

(Slide 136)

It seemed that the publisher of Vahdet was Yener Donmez, who was the representative of the newspaper Akit in Ankara. The questions from where he found the funding to publish a newspaper, how he afforded the daily operating costs have no answers. But Vahdet’s publication stopped on September 1, 2016. Let me also add that Yener Donmez, who pointed me as a target, was later arrested for being a member of the FETO Sect, was using Bylock, and participated in some conspiracies. The threats, which were apparently led and administered from the same headquarters, started coming after Donmez pointed me as a target.

While the threats were continuing to come in, a policeman, who said he was from Public Security Branch Office, called me to say that he is going to deliver a notification. I invited the policeman to the newspaper and we met with him in my attorneys Bulent Utku and Tora Pekin’s office.He told us that Police Intelligence Bureau has received intelligence that I will be assassinated and therefore, they will provide security detail for me. When asked about the source of the threat, he said it was “Mihrac Ural group”.

 (Slide 137)

I told him that lately I have been frequently threatened, and that I thought that this is not done by the Mihrac Ural group but directly by way of MIT’s finger pointing. I did not accept the offer for a guard.

Previously, I had talked to Mihrac Ural on the phone concerning some news. I called him and told him that the police told me that he would assassinate me and conveyed him the conversation I had had with that policeman. Naturally, his response was a chuckle. I wrote an article about this conversation and the other details on the subject and posted it on Twitter.

Slide 138

Here, I have to remind you of the publication of a false news piece that appeared on the front page of the newspaper Yeni Safak just before this trial started, stating that I wrote an article on the orders of Mihrac Ural who was planning to have me murdered.

These were not the only crimes I was accused of. I was also asking questions about certain aspects of the coup attempt on July 15th, that were tried to be kept in the dark, and struggling to get answers to my questions.

If we are to sum up:

  • I was reporting on the murky cooperations that the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) forged with some jihadist groups.
  • Someone from the MIT, an institution whose traces I found in each and every shady situation, called me to threaten and accuse me of being part of the “parallel structure”.
  • I was finger pointed and slandered with the lie of operating for the “parallel structure” by the newspaper Vahdet, where a hitman who was to be arrested for being part of the FETO organization in the wake of July 15 was working at the time.
  • I started receiving a surge of threats from the same headquarters after the publication of this news piece.
  • The Police Headquarters decided to give me a security detail.
  • We made an official complaint after these threats, but unsurprisingly obtained no result whatsoever.

 

Slide 139-145

As you may very well know, the fact that we are being held hostage has nothing to do with what is stated in the indictment in front of you. This indictment is full of lies by people who know that they will not be able to hide the truth forever. The crimes of those very people who are currently directing the accusations towards us are in the indictment itself. The reason why the notion of justice has been trampled upon by the members of the judiciary under the orders of the government in the last 14 months is clear; it is because they are trying to patch over and close up every opening through which the light of truth may seep in. Unfortunately, this operation to slaughter journalism has been undertaken by the media itself. To put this in the words of your expert witness, “they are practicing journalism in line with the vested interests of a political gang with which they are in complicity, by concealing the truth through lies and manipulations.”

This operation, backed by political powers, has been conducted by members of the judiciary who follow orders rather than the rule of the law, and by the media who obeys a political gang. The lies that are attempted to be placed in this piece of scrap called the indictment as evidence were dictated to these ‘media hitmen’ weeks before the operation itself. The charges, which morphed into official lies, were popularized on the social media first, and then on the internet sites of the mafia media, their newspapers and television stations. We’ve demonstrated this clearly through appropriate examples.

When the trials commenced, we saw that not only the conjuring of consent, but the adjudication of this conspiracy itself was to be done upon media platforms acting as pseudo courts.

In the trials that started in July, prior to and during each hearing a gang composed of people masquerading as judges and prosecutors leaked the documents and information, spun out of lies, to the media acting as their hitmen. Even the indictment itself was handed over to these hitmen before it was presented to you.

(Slide 146-147)

On July 19th, a few days before the trial started on July 24th, the Yeni Safak newspaper was the source of fabrication. The records of my phone calls, which are not even in the investigation files, were on newspaper headlines with a lie to accompany. I was being accused of taking orders from a person whom the police department had previously warned me would assassinate me, even offering me protection.

(Slide 148)

We were to first learn your prosecutor’s advisory opinion on the 28th of July from the internet site of the Sabah newspaper. You publicly declared that the document carrying the name and signature of your prosecutor, Hasan Bolukbasi, was fake; but didn’t feel the need to investigate the gang behind this fake document.

(Slide 149)

We found out about your so-called evidence from Sabah’s internet site once more, before it was uploaded onto the UYAP system during the hearing held on September 11th.

(Slide 150)

In the same manner, we heard the decision you were to give on September 25th from the internet site of the Star newspaper while the hearing was still going on.

(Slide 151)

What these examples, which may also be interpreted as something of a synchronization problem, signified was quite explicit: the people giving your instructions did not even care to hide it.

During the hearing on October 31st, the personal correspondence belonging to Osman Kavala, taken from his phone records, appeared in your court even before his interrogation; Mr. Kavala also found himself in jail by a similar conspiracy. But this information had previously appeared on the internet site of the Sabah newspaper yet again.

Slide 152

You have been telling us continuously since the beginning, that you are not putting journalism on trial. We try to force ourselves to believe you for once. But then we remember the questions you are directing at us. If we leave the ones about the claims of irregularities during the elections of the foundation aside, it’s all:“Why did you print this news piece?”. “Why did you use this photograph?”, “Why did you put this heading on your article?”, “Why did you print this article on the front page?”, “Who hired you?”, “What is the duty of the editorial consultant?”

 

These are the questions you ask.

You, who are trying to prove the existence of an illegal organization based on what we put on social media, on our news reports and photographs, on our articles, on the headings, and even the page layout of the newspaper, closed your ears to our requests for you to investigate the illegal organization within the very courthouse you are serving in. You already know who is leaking the information, who is dictating the false news to you as a directive, as much as we do. Actually, this is exactly why you ignored our requests; namely, because you cannot investigate this gang composed of your colleagues, some of whom occupy higher ranks and posts.

However, you know better than I do that law exists to prevent the abuse of power. That is why law is more powerful than politics and government. This is what should be the case.

When that is not the case, the people who occupy such higher ranks and posts without having the necessary competence hold on to injustice with all their might. They turn a blind eye to lawlessness. They become accomplices to the system based on lawlessness. Since they are the ones who best understand the meaning of the state of lawlessness, they continue to commit crimes in order not to lose their positions. This is what some of your colleagues are doing.

You had witnesses specially selected so as to justify the lies in the indictment. You, yourself, as the presiding judge, mentioned that some of these witnesses considered respectable/reliable by the public prosecutors, were not so in your opinion. I will return to this a little later. At this point, I want to remind you that none of the statements made in the courtroom by persons whose testimonies were included in the indictment by public prosecutors of yours while trying to prove us to be “terrorists” actually validated the accusations brought against us. Even employees who had talked indiscreetly about the internal matters of our newspaper in the offices of public prosecutors mentioned that particular portions of their statements had been cropped out, used out of context and distorted, explaining how the prosecution had hence abused its power.

The person laying bare the true nature of the court ended up being Sukran Soner. She mentioned that she had spent a large portion of her professional life in the courts of juntas, and that your court was no different from them. In her statement that she presented to the court in Silivri, she said, “The previous set-up trials orchestrated by the Gulen Sect were the First Silivri Trials. The present one is now the Second Silivri Trial”, thus revealing that although the conspirators are different, the conspiracy is, in fact, the same.

We also watched the performances of two witnesses, who were deemed to be respectable/reliable by your court. Alev Coskun, who claimed to be a keen follower of Ataturk, emerged as a discontent, perfidious informant, acting as an accomplice to the sworn enemies of the values championed by Ataturk for the sole reason of obtaining a post.

We came to know Alev Coskun not only as an informant but also as a witness desperately trying to offer up the Cumhuriyet newspaper to the (Presidential) Palace to be dealt with it at will. In this framework, your true intentions, as well as those of the prosecutors insisting on our confinement, were revealed. This trial is simply a dramatic circus, designed to force Cumhuriyet to become a pro-government paper.

Then there was Riza Zelyut, who returned the award given to him by the Gulen Sect when he realized that it was a center of evil. In spite of this awakening, after the instruction of his employer he wrote an article that sang praises to Fethullah Gulen and his Sect, just around the time of the conspiracy trials in 2012. If you were to ask him, he is the best ever columnist in Turkey. Yet his one and only fault is that he writes upon instruction from above.

Slide 153

Dogan Satmis appeared as your last minute witness.

During the conversation heartily snatched at as evidence by your prosecutors, Satmis replied to the question “Who was your favorite boss?”, with the answer: “Sedat Simavi, because he used to give us gift baskets with gold in them on New Year’s Eve.” He was the editorial consultant at Cumhuriyet during the time in which some of the news pieces cited in your indictment as incriminating material were published. Kadri Gursel, on the other hand, was kept in captivity for being the editorial consultant for 34 days only, even though he had nothing to do with the news pieces in question here, which also do not, in any case, contain criminal elements of any sort. Murat Sabuncu, who did not bear any responsibility or authority, said “All the responsibility is mine” with respect to those news reports and articles, and has now completed 14 months in captivity.

Yet Dogan Satmis, who “loves the boss that gives gifts of gold”, and says that he could ignore the truth because “there is no news worth dying for or being in prison for”, became your witness. We were not surprised.

Because evil is like water. It always finds the lowest level and flows down there. It is not a coincidence that evil is able to organize so easily in a country containing a lot of people with some kind of emptiness, open space or cracks in their personalities.

Based on his professional experience, attorney Bülent Utku explained in detail why the indictment has nothing to do with law. By individually citing the accusations, he demonstrated clearly how the prosecutors had disregarded the law in order to conform to the instructions they had received.

Slide 154

Attorney Akın Atalay sent each bit of slander whizzing into the trash bin of history, where they belonged. He proved that hitmen labeled as expert witnesses were as bad at telling lies as the prosecutors themselves.

We heard you, the presiding judge, say things like “I agree that the indictment has problems” and “we also think that the complaints about the expert witnesses are justified.” The statements “We will call in some of the witnesses, but of course not the likes of Gülerce. Rumors and hearsay do not have any judicial value,” also belong to you.

A short time ago we showed you how these testimonies you refer to as “rumor and hearsay” were used in the indictments, and how they constituted large portions of the bill of charges. You are not only continuing to try us based on an indictment that is built upon these lies, but you are also still keeping us in jail on this kind of grounds.

If, as you have said, you do not consider these hearsay testimonies to have any judicial value, it is obvious that you need to end this trial with an acquittal and put an end to this injustice.

You mentioned but one name, yet we know who you mean when you say those speaking gossip only. Hüseyin Gülerce and Latif Erdogan, who served as administrators in the Gülen Sect, now called an illegal organization, for 25 and 40 years consecutively. Another one is Cem Kucuk, who praised Gülen during the “era of bliss”, (the period of cooperation between the Gülen Congregation and the government).

You are concluding that the statements of these witnesses, who were accepted to be credible by your colleagues who happen to have or don’t have their signatures on the indictment and investigation documents, are merely hearsay and have no judicial value. You are right.

The statements made by those who do not have dignity, honor and self-respect do not have not only judicial value, but any value at all. Because, as Sevgi Soysal says  “Lumpens are the filth of the system.” And when the system itself turns into the filth, only those who feed from the same garbage dump pay attention to what those lumpens say.

These lumpens who position themselves according to their owners are now accusing us of being “terrorists” and “traitors.” If we were, however, to hear flattering words from them, it would only be then that we would truly doubt ourselves.

I leave to you to find an explanation for the contradiction in having included in the indictment all the hearsay testimonies in which you were unable to see any judicial value and your insistence on using them to implicate us.

With your preliminary proceedings report you accepted this indictment, which contains testimonies based on rumors, biased expert witnesses, and, in your words, is problematic. We also gleaned from your statement “It is strongly suspected that the evidences to be collected will be incriminating,” in the same preliminary proceedings report that you considered the hearsay testimonies factual and had already presumed us to be guilty.

For we were among those who rejected the tyranny of crime rather than those who surrendered to fear or acted out of their own interest.

Our objection is to be forced to close our eyes, ears and mouths to all the evils, injustices, inequalities and unfairness that are being perpetuated; and to accept the system of plunder and pillage with undisputed obedience. Opposing what is wrong is not an evidence of our guilt, but a confirmation of our humanity. And this is the cause of the hatred towards us.

To be brave surely does not mean having no fear at all, but instead to be able to speak up and raise your objection whilst knowing full well what you stand to lose. For cowards do not live. They only survive. Let me take this opportunity to say that the silent majority will bear the onus of answering the question of what it feels like  to remain silent and not object while all of this horror is playing out in plain daylight before their very eyes when merely witnessing evil is enough to stain the soul.

During the hearings in July, a dialogue took place between you, the presiding judge, and me about not knowing each other. Now looking back in the wake of the performance of this court in terms of slaughtering the law, I can say that I was wrong. I am acquainted with you and all the members of your court including the prosecutor.

You were present at the OdaTv trials that were initiated as the result of a plot by the Gülen Sect, charging me with being involved in the Ergenekon movement. In that instance your name was Mehmet Ekinci, the prosecutor’s name Cihan Kansız, and the other judges Hikmet Sen and Seyfettin Mermerci.

The judiciary of the Sect would massacre the notion of law by bringing unfounded charges against people and then toying with the carcass that was once law in trials that were simply shows to put on an ‘appearance of justice’. Today’s judiciary is doing exactly the same. Thanks to you, I have gained yet another experience that demonstrates what happens when the scales of justice balancing impartiality, independence, conscience and logic break down.

You have become the accomplice of a political operation that was a clear set-up. You have kept persons you knew to be innocent in jail using evidence that was not judicially acceptable and charges that were not real offences.

You either obeyed directions or had political motives. Both alternatives lead us to the same conclusion. There is no rule of law here! And so we can have no justice.

For no justice can come from the collusion of interests of those in power and their minions.

For attempting to use the judiciary as a means for revenge by rendering the law a tool of hatred is what dictators do.

For under dictatorships where the only justice that exists is that of power and the powerful, courtrooms become black holes swallowing up justice itself.

And because of all these, this trial is evidence that justice cannot be obtained through the legal process.

You continued this court case, which had crumbled apart from the very first hearing, by insisting on unlawfulness, and appeared before us with the same justifications each and every time.

You must know that those who continuously repeat the lies of others not only amplify them, but also internalize them until that big, walloping lie ceases to be somebody else’s and comes to belong to the one who is repeating it. It becomes their “reality”. Or they become the prisoner of that falsehood and turn into a liar.

Although it was obvious from the onset that this political operation was a set-up based on lies, your prosecutor repeated the same requests from day one. In turn, your panel repeated decisions in line with these requests. And so, you fell captive to a lie.

It is for this reason that I have nothing to request from you.

My statement is a response in advance to the concluding remarks and demands, which I know are to be made by your prosecutor, and to the verdict of your panel – the contents of which have already been decided in some other place way before, and which I also already know.

It is also yet again an accusation.

Each and every one of our lawyers have explained the unlawful acts that have taken place since the commencement of this rigged show on the 31st of October 2016, with their belief in the rule of law for which I have great respect.

They explained the laws, the related sections of the constitution and the decisions of the constitutional court and the court of appeals. They talked about the European Convention on Human Rights, other international conventions and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. They laid out all the breaches of law that have been committed with your complicity.

Surely, law may be discussed with those who are not lawyers or legal experts.

But there is no point in engaging in a legal discussion with those who have allowed their personal interests to trump the rule of law.

The verdict that you will announce has no importance for me.

Because, if we are to put it in the terms used by the presiding judge of this court in describing the testimonies of some of the false witnesses, the verdict that you will be announcing ‘has no judicial value’. Just like the lies of the prosecutors who submit themselves to whomever is in power and the fabrications of the puppets you call expert witnesses…

We, who have stood upright and with a clear conscience before you since the very first day, as journalists strongly adhering to the ethical principles of our profession have been absolved by history. Yet it is impossible to say that history will pass a favorable judgement on you.

I have no doubt that you will sentence each of us to penalties predetermined somewhere else entirely. But you should know that carrying out directives under the wings of a hierarchical chain will never be able to exonerate you from your responsibilities.

In my opinion, the only truth in your preliminary proceedings report that may be considered an indication of your upcoming verdict is the conclusion that we “would continue committing similar crimes in the event of being released.”
You are once again right to be concerned.

Because, whatever you do, we will hesitate neither in our search for the truth, nor, once we find it, in handing it back to its rightful owner, the people.

For we are journalists.

We are the journalists whose paths are illuminated by Uğur Mumcu, who was never afraid to lay bare the dark secrets of the government’s loci of power.

We are the followers of Musa Anter, who toiled to have the language of peace prevail over that of conflict in this country.

We are the brothers and sisters of Hrant Dink, who was trying to build a bridge of brotherhood between peoples even when he was living with the restlessness of a dove.

We are the comrades of Metin Göktepe, who struggled so that justice, equality and freedom would take root in this land.

Because we are journalists who believe that our profession should be performed as it deserves; unflinching, upright, and unwavering from what is right and truthful in both behavior and character.

Because of this, we will continue telling the truth even if you murder us as you have done in the past or imprison us as you are doing now.

Because journalism is not a crime despite what the owners of totalitarian regimes, their judiciaries and collaborators may say.

An account on Ali Bulac

Currently more than 170 journalists and members of the media are in prison today in Turkey. Jørgen Lorentzen from the Norwegian Writers in Prison Committee has been in Turkey recently and has collected information on the stories and current situation of some of these journalists, such as the case of Ali Bulac.

Ali Bulac, born in Mardin, Turkey in 1951, is a columnist and a journalist who has written in daily papers such as Yeni Safak, Zaman, Milli Gazete and others. He is a sociologist, theologist, writer, columnist and a journalist who has declared his thoughts and opinions over the past four decades in various papers, magazines and other platforms. He completed his higher education in 1975 at Istanbul University, Faculty of Divinity and also studied at the same university, Faculty of Literature, Sociology which he completed in 1980. He worked for a while at an opinion/art journal called Hareket (Movement) which was founded by Nurettin Topcu. Then he founded Düşünce Dergisi (Thought Magazine) and Düşünce Yayinlari (Thought Publishing House) in 1976. Between the years 1978 – 1980, his articles were published in many periodical magazines i.e. Tevhid, Hicret, Şura etc. Between the years 1985 – 1992, he founded a monthly magazine named Kitap (Book) and a quarterly magazine named Bilgi ve Hikmet (Knowledge and Wisdom). He was editor in chief of both magazines. When the daily Zaman was established in 1987, he worked as editor in chief in its Istanbul office for a year. At the end of 1987, when the owners of Zaman paper changed he left the paper but returned to the paper and worked as a columnist in 1993. However, after a short while he left the paper again. In 1998, he restarted to write in the daily Zaman once again. In addition to the daily Zaman he wrote in daily papers, namely Milli Gazete and Yeni Safak. His articles were also published in various magazines during the same period. In 1988, he was honoured the “Opinion Award” by the Writers Union of Turkey for his book İnsanın Özgürlük Arayışı (Man’s Freedom Quest). He was a columnist at the daily Zaman and Today’s Zaman. To date, he has written 24 books and has also produced hundreds of articles. Apart from these, he has recently completed a Tafsir (Quranic Exegesis) in 2016. He has participated in periodic TV programs at Mehtap TV, Hilal TV, TVNET, Kanal D with intellectuals/journalist such as Taha Akyol, Gulay Gokturk, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Yalcin Dogan etc. Some of his books have been translated into English, Bosnian etc.

The prosecutor claims that Bulac, along with Sahin Alpay and others, is a member of FETO terrorist organization, supported the bloody coup in June 2016, attempted to destroy the constitutional order of Turkey by writing with a terrorist organization conscious on Zaman daily which is deemed to be FETO’s media arm. The indictment shows some sentences from Bulac’s six columns evidencing his claims and holds him, as well as other journalists, responsible. As a result, he seeks 3 times life sentence in addition to jail for up to 15 years. The indictment against Ali Bulac, Sahin Alpay, Ahmet Turan Alkan etc., is full of inconsistencies. In the end, these journalists are being held responsible for their columns, articles and nothing more.

Bulac was taken into custody on 27th July 2016 and later was arrested on 30th July 2016. Since then he is in Silivri Prison waiting for the trial which is on 18th September 2017. 14 months later he will have the opportunity to defend himself. During the past one year his lawyer has prepared objection letters several times and submitted them to Peace Court of Criminal Jurisdiction of Istanbul but, unfortunately, they have all been rejected. He applied to European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in March 2017. ECtHR accepted his application on 14th June 2017 along with the applications of the Altan Brothers, Nazli Ilicak, Sahin Alpay, Atilla Tas and Murat Aksoy.

The full indictment is about 90 pages; however, addendums amount to around 12,000 pages. Bulac’s lawyer can see him only 1 hour a week. Taking into account the size of the indictment, especially the addendums and the seriousness of allegations against Bulac, naturally 1-hour meetings with the lawyer do not suffice to prepare a proper defense.

His immediate family can see him once a week for just 1 hour behind the glass and once a month openly. Meetings with the lawyer are being conducted with the company of an officer from the prison. All meetings, except the open ones which are once a month, are recorded. Since he was imprisoned 1 year ago he has not been able to work, hence he has been harmed financially. His assets, bank accounts were frozen for about 9 months, very recently were released.

Unfortunately Ali Bulac’s case is representative of the hostile climate towards freedom of expression in Turkey and it is part of the Norwegian Writers in Prison Committee’s work to follow up on as many trials as possible, as well as raise awareness among the public of the current situation in Turkey.

Turkey: Release the five imprisoned Cumhuriyet journalists

In a meeting with the Turkish Ambassador to Norway, Esat Safak Göktürk, on 5 September, Norwegian PEN asked for the immediate release of the five imprisoned journalists and members of the newspaper Cumhuriyet: Ahmet Sik, Akin Atalay, Empre Iper, Kadri Gürsel and Murat Sabuncu.

An illustration by cartoonist Semih Poroy depicts 11 journalists and executives from Cumhuriyet who were on trial on July 24, 2017 in Istanbul.

Ambassador Esat Safak Göktürk
Turkish Embassy
Halvdan Svartes gate 5
0244 Oslo

embassy.oslo@mfa.gov.tr

Oslo, 5 September 2017

Dear Ambassador Esat Safak Göktürk,

We will ask for the immediate release of these five imprisoned journalists and members of the newspaper Cumhuriyet:

AHMET ŞIK – Correspondent (Arrested since December 30, 2016)
AKIN ATALAY – Attorney and Executive Committee Member (Arrested since November 12, 2016)
EMRE İPER – Accountant (Arrested since April 18, 2017)
KADRİ GÜRSEL – Editorial Consultant (Arrested since November 5, 2016)
MURAT SABUNCU – Editor in Chief (Arrested since November 5, 2016)

Norwegian PEN has been monitoring the case against Cumhuriyet closely and conclude that there is nothing in the indictment that refers to any form of criminal activity.

The trials that began on July 24, 2017 focused solely on journalistic activities. Questions by both the judges and the prosecutor were exclusively about the news and the editorial policy of Cumhuriyet. They asked questions concerning the motives behind certain top stories and about the wording in the headlines. The independent editorial policy was questioned; press freedom and the right to receive free news was put on trial.

During the pre-trial detention period, the imprisoned journalists were kept in isolation and could only see their lawyers and families for one hour a week. Their communication rights, which were critical for preparing legal defences, were limited. Their fundamental rights of freedom and security, freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial were violated while the basic principle of innocence was abused.

We are deeply concerned for the situation of freedom of expression and freedom of press in Turkey, where more than 170 writers and journalists now are in prison. Freeing the 5 imprisoned journalists form Cumhuriyet will be one step in the right direction.

Sincerely,

William Nygaard, President
Brit Bildøen, Chair of Writers in Prison Committee

2017: Turkey: Hasip Yanlıç

Norwegian PEN and PEN International are concerned at the arrest and detention of writer and Kurdish PEN member Hasip Yanlıç who was charged on 6 July 2017 with “aiding and abetting a terrorist organisation without being a member” after being arrested at his house in Diyarbakır. Norwegian PEN and PEN International fears that Hasip Yanlıç is being targeted for his writings and outspoken stance on linguistic rights and Kurdish education. In this letter, we call on the Turkish authorities to release Yanlıç immediately.

Minister of Justice Abdülhamit Gül
Ministry of Justice
Milli Müdafaa Caddesi: 22
Bakanlıklar
06659 Kızılay-Ankara
Republic of Turkey

Oslo 16th August 2017

Dear Minister,

Norwegian PEN is concerned to hear of the arrest of Hasip Yanlıç who on 6th July this year was charged with «aiding and abetting a terrorist organisation without being a member», and is currently being held in Diyarbakır Closed D Type Prison.

We fear that Yanlıç is being targeted solely for his writings and his outspoken stance on Kurdish education and linguistic rights.

Norwegian PEN calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Yanlıç, as well as of all other detained writers and jounalists as long as they are not being charged with a criminal offence and tried promptly in accordance with international fair trial standards.

We furthermore call on Turkish authorities to not use the state of emergency to crack down on peaceful protests, civil society, media and education. We likewise urge Turkish authorities to put an immediate stop to the crackdown on the Kurdish regions, and to do their utmost to bring about a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict.

Yours sincerely,

Ms Johanne Fronth-Nygren
Member of Writers in Prison Committee
Norwegian PEN

COPY:
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım
The Turkish Embassy in Norway
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ahmet Şık’s defence statement on the trial of Cumhuriyet 24 July 2017

Ahmet Sik on trial.
Illustration by Zeynep Özatalay.

Ahmet Şık Defense Statement

(Translation by the Solidarity Group for the Freedom of Ahmet Şık)

July 24, 2017

I will start with a quote from the prologue of my book “We walked parallel on these roads”, published in 2014, three years ago. The foreword of this review-research book explaining how the mafia-governing coalition between the AKP and the Gülen community is dispersed begins as follows:

“The AKP and Gulen congregation, two forces that turn Turkey into political and social coexistence and continued together with the support of partisans, so-called powerhouse, sewage exploded. The two forces that built the so-called ‘New Turkey’, a Machiavellian understanding that is appropriate to apply any kind of rush to achieve it, AKP and Gulen Congregation split.

Both do not want the democratization of the system and society, they are the foci of power that seeking to conquer the state, they are trying to organize it by making their authority predominant.

These two foci, with an understanding of trying to make the commitment to the authority of the state, which they think they will be the only power to speak in the long run, have accumulated material for destroying each other while fighting common enemies on the other hand.

The closeness of the day that these materials could be used was apparent from the fact that the stench in the drainage was spreading out over for a long period of time. Threats from media columns, underhanded liquidations, occasionally leaked phone calls, and police-judicial operations based on illegality were the signs that they would be targeted at the constituents of the government after common enemies.

When they were convinced that there were no enemies to be destroyed, they were aiming at each other by holding onto the fight that the state’s owner would be. Yes, it was a mess and still it is a mess. Apparently it will be like this for a while. In this battle where ethics and religion are used, the lies that meet the needs of the parties are more prevalent than the truths. So, do not be fooled by the defences made by them. This war is not for democracy and clean society, nor for peace or civilization as somebody claimed. They just fight for being the owner of the state.

After these lines were published, the war between the AKP and the Gülen congregation worsened. The period of a false history writing process, which started with the Ergenekon investigations in 2007, who took more share on the plundering of the state and the country by the ruling and crime partners, extended to a coup attempt. On 15th July 2016, 250 people were killed in a bloody upheaval.

There is serious doubt that this attempt, which we are forced to believe is the sole responsibility of the Gülen Community, was already known by the government. Despite the fact that over a year has passed and numerous investigations have been launched, suspicions have increased rather than decreased. The July 15 coup d’état, which is required to remain in the dark with many signs, which led us to believe that the needed  ‘Controlled Chaos’ was being yielded, was the most important milestone of the fake historiography that spanned the last 10 years.

The only truth of this fakeness which has been constructed with the words “democratization-civilization” and lies, is the people slaughtered by the coup plotters.

It is worth to ask questions about what is wanted to be left in the dark and saying “Controlled Chaos” to this situation. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is the target of the coup attempt, has spilled the beans by expressing his intention while the country was in the middle of a bloodshed, and said “This coup is a blessing from God to us”. We have seen what ‘blessing’  means and have witnessed it together  and are still witnessing it. We pass through the dark and increasingly darker days, where those who voiced the truth, those who objected to the crime order, those who demanded their usurped rights, are the voices being muted and strangled.

The Coup was stopped but, all basic rights and freedoms were suspended by the State of Emergency (OHAL).

Tens of thousands of people have been detained on charges of ‘Supporting Coup-FETO’, more than 50,000.00 arrested. Some people have been tortured.

With Executive Orders, the state and the society have been speeded up in the design of Turkish-Islamic form. By the practices that justify their suspicions that the distinction between “’those who are with us’ and ‘those who are not’” are considered as the only criteria, more than 110,000.00 public officials were purged. The gap created in the public sector, especially the basic organs of the state, such as security, judiciary and education, was filled with AKP staff based on allegiance, not capability.

The scientists who educated students for years, teachers, have been left unemployed by ruling that they are “terrorists”. Even the response to the hunger strike of the struggle to get back their rights, was prison.

The way of the regulations, to officially abolish the principle of separation of forces,  which had actually been removed from the scene, was opened under a controversial referendum in the conditions of State of Emergency (OHAL), without ballot-box security.

Judicial independence and neutrality, which are always troubled in Turkey and tried to prove their existence with exceptional examples, were completely hidden away by the judges and prosecutors who appointed themselves to the interests of the government. The violation of the freedom which seized by arresting terror, has been extended to Parliament’s third-largest party which represents the will of the 6 million voters. HDP’s co-chairs, deputies and several mayors who were elected by the polls were also captured. And even, the main opposition party, the CHP, endorsed the legal regulation which will open the way for these arrests, by the fearing of “CHP protects the terrorists” propaganda; and these arrests extended to a deputy of the CHP.

Many non- governmental organizations (NGO) were closed. Those who defended rights have been arrested. Many companies have been seized.  

Several media organizations including the press and have visual and audial broadcasts have been shut down in a country which is proud to have achieved a great democracy after stopping the coup. Aside from a few media organizations and journalists who are still trying to resist even against threats resist of Investigations, lawsuits, and arrests along with economical pressures there are not many remaining who are trying to uncover the truth. After imprisoning 150 journalists, Turkey has obtained the title of “the world’s largest journalist prison.” So much so that, Turkey, alone, has more incarcerated journalists than the entire number of journalists in prison all over the world.

If we add the journalists who are not in prison but are still “under arrest” through censorship and auto- censorship to the list, the picture we paint is even more pessimistic. Because of the dark shadow of censorship even though there exists many media organizations under the ownership of private investment groups, a single-voiced news broadcasting has taken over the country. 

On the tv channels which must do live broadcasts, even if President Erdoğan talks in his sleep, they cannot broadcast any political programs without permission of government commissioners. 

When the media is in this state, the only platform remaining for political criticism is social media. As long as the access is not blocked, as long as the internet is not cut off due to government censorship, and as long as you have not written anything to offend AKP’s internet trolls and informant citizens and prosecutors, then there are no barriers for you to use your right to criticise. However, there is no guarantee that you will not be arrested for using this right. 

This is the summary of the current pessimistic state of the country on the aftermath of a failed coup. Actually, it is easy to summarize all of this in one sentence: On July 15th a coup was diverted but the junta came to power.    

​In the indictments prepared after the coup attempt, the aims of the Gulen Congregation (Cemaat) is described as follows:

 “​To take control of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Constitutional organizations government of the Turkish Republic and once this is accomplished, to redesign the government, public, and individuals in the ideology of FETO; to control the economical, societal, and political power with a coterie hand which has oligarchical traits.”

When we look at the period since the bloody attempt, that is seen as a favor, and the picture we have described, who could say that these goals were not achieved?  

Did the takeover of  executive, legislative, and judicial branches The Government of the Turkish Republic not occur?

​Using the state of emergency (OHAL) and law- amending ordinances (KHK), are they not trying to design the government and society according to their own ideologies and interests?

Are they not using a coterie hand with oligarchical traits to control the economical, societal, and political power in their determination to pillage the government’s and country’s resources?

This is the reason that the biggest defeat of the Gülen congregation (Cemaat) that is The July 15th coup attempt, is also their biggest victory.   

Because, the model Fetullah Gülen idealised for the government, society, and individuals, was put into motion after the July 15 coup attempt. The patent of this system, construction of which is moving along rapidly and which is one that all who side with democracy should oppose, belings to Fetullah Gulen, even if the system might be in someone else’s hands.   

Thus is exactly the reason why Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP government gave Fethullah Gulen and his congregation everything they wanted.   

Now, they act as if they had nothing to do with the transformation of the Gulen congregation, who were undeniably one of the parties involved in the bloody coup attempt, into a monster referred to as FETO.

They want us to keep silent about their guilt and to not tell the truth. They are using the blood of the victims killed by the putschists as a demagogic part of a cheap and shallow political strategy.   

Because, those who hold power in their hands have only one goal in mind: to continue their totalitarian rule no matter what.   

And for this, they will do very bad things and they will have a mindset where anyone is dispensable. Journies of long term sovereignties have histories which include many examples of ending relationships with your initial travel mates. They leave those who no longer serve a purpose and are no longer needed, behind. They disposed of their supporters, accomplices, co-conspirators, and even their comrades. Undoubtedly, the ones who remain and the new ones who have been added will also get their turns.   

Those who have made the media to toot their (government) own horn are trying to silence those who are trying to show thie guilt and bad intentions by incarcerating them. They think we will be scared and be silenced. To show them how wrong they are one more time, let’s continue to tell the story…

 

The Gulen Congregation, which has a history of 45 years, completed its horizontal organization within the state in the first 30 years, finalizing its vertical growth in the last 15 years. No obstacles were left for its crafting the state parallel to itself by utilizing the opportunities provided to it by the AKP government to whose power it became a non-official partner.  

The congregation accumulated enormous power within the police and judicial organizations and the operational units of the military. It was not difficult for it to ensconce itself in strategic positions by using the AKP government. Subsequently, they were successful in establishing a domain of influence to impose their priorities, by eliminating the people or institutions in the governmental and civil domains, which may have become an alternative option or a possible rival.  

To state the truth, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who confessed to his crime by stating “What did we not give that they asked for” and “apologized for the help he gave to them” and AKP which has been in power in the last 15 years, is the most responsible for the Gulen congregation to secure its power in the government and society, thus, rendering them dangerous.    

I will explain this with a few examples; however, it will be useful to call your attention to a point first.  

A large number of officers, who were not members of the Gulen Congregation, were purged from the Turkish military by staging several trials such as Ergenekon, Balyoz, Military Espionage and several other investigations. The ones, who were not imprisoned, were not promoted by using cruel defamation tactics.
Erdogan, who was the prime minister at the time, had announced that he was the prosecutor of these lawsuits.

AKP government had shielded the plotters from the criticisms and accusations directed to them, while also acting as an accomplice since it was the political authority.  

However, now, they are trying to put the burden of all these crimes and sins on the Gulen Congregation and to hide their role and crimes in these events.
At the time, there were a lot of people who were imprisoned due to the conspiratorial plots of the congregation or were subjected to public defamation by the hatchet men of the AKP-Congregation partnership in the media. We should not neglect to mention that some of these people, among whom there were journalists, acted as the facilitators/partners in hiding the crimes of AKP and even were on stage as the executors of defamation tactics during that period.

If we go back to what we were discussing, Gulen Congregation opened the path for their members into the Turkish Military by shaping the promotion list and order according to their benefits and goals by exploiting the conspired trials mentioned above. 

The officers in the Turkish Military, who were not members of the Congregation, were not limited to the ones prosecuted by these trials. AKP government ran to the help of the Congregation to eliminate the remaining ones.
Let us see what happened…

The compulsory service period for the military personnel was reduced from 15 to 10 years according to a change in the code realized in May 2012. Congregation was calculating that some of the officers not on their side may retire from the military. And they were right. Several officers resigned because of the climate of apprehension generated by the plotted trials and the loss of dignity suffered by the Turkish Military.

Interestingly, some important regulations were  achieved after this first legal change, even after the battle between the AKP and the Congregation has begun.

The investigations on the corruption charges on December 17/25 2013 were the culprit in the transformation of the battle between the AKP and Congregation into a big war, and severing their relationship beyond repair. The MİT trailer operation where weapon and ammunition aid was provided to the Salafi jihadist groups fighting against the regime during the Syrian civil war.   

During the period when the relationship was broken off, some regulations related to the military were realized in the Parliament according to changes in the law  based on the demand, proposal, and votes of some members of the parliament from AKP. Firstly, AKP with its majority in the Parliament adopted a regulation on February 11, 2014, which brought the promotions in the Turkish Military forward by one year. Thus, the colonels of four-year service and generals of three-year service who are members of the congregation were included in the Supreme Military Council (YAS). The officers who were not members of the congregation and did not get promotion due to the decision taken by the YAS would, thus, be retired and purged from the Turkish Military.

The second change was realized two months later. According to the Turkish Military Supreme Disciplinary Board Regulations, that went into effect on April 12, 2014, new Supreme Disciplinary Boards were established with the goal of investigating the purges  from the military. The amendment to the Officer’s Personnel Record Code, which outlines the working guidelines of these boards, was eliminating the purges from the Turkish Military due to reactionary religious activities.

Another amendment was proposed to the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office on December 30, 2015 by 37 AKP members of the parliament. This amendment was decreasing the waiting period for the promotion from rank of colonel to general to four years. Thus, the promotion of the colonels who did not qualify for promotion, but were members of the Congregation, to the rank of general was enabled.

The last change resulted in a code established to make amendments to the Turkish Military Personnel Code article number 6722 and some other codes. In 1988 and the years before that, the officers who graduated from the Military Academy made up a group where the influence of the Gulen Congregation was the weakest. The amendment mentioned above foresaw some arrangements which will reduce the service in the military to 28 years. Thus, the Congregation will have the power to purge the officers, which constituted the largest group of officers with no connection to the Congregation, from the Turkish Military en masse.

This amendment was prepared by the generals Mehmet Disli and Mehmet Partigoc, who are suggested to be the most prominent actors of the July 15 coup attempt; and it was projected to become effective, except one article, as soon as it was adopted. The article that was projected to go into effect after the August 2016 Council meeting is the one on the en masse purge of the group of officers, who graduated  in 1988 and before and among whom the Congregation was the least organized. By the resolution presented by the AKP group on June 23, 2016 during the discussion of the proposal in the Parliament, it was ensured that the said amendment will become effective as soon as it is adopted.

The purges that the Gulen Congregation had targeted in the Turkish Military were realized by the staged trials put into action through the support of the AKP government and by the amendments realized in several codes by the government. The picture that emerged after July 15th demonstrates the significance of all these events.

To make it easier to understand what I mean, I will use a quote from an opposition commentary on the TBMM Research Commission Report on the 15 July Coup, prepared by the CHP: «The Predicted, Yet Not-Prevented and Exploited `Controlled Coup’ »  

According to the report, almost all of the generals promoted after YAS decisions in 2011, 2012, and 2013 are now accused of being members of FETO. Same accusations have been addressed to the 80 percent of soldiers who were promoted from colonel to general with 2014 and 2015 YAS decisions, which were made following the legal amendments and changes made by the AKP government that I mentioned earlier.  

By the way, it should be emphasized that a total of 400 personnel were purged from the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) between 1985 and 2003, the time when AKP came to power, based on the claim that they were members of the Gülen movement; but that there were no purging from 2003 until when the coup attempt took place.

I will close this section in which I have tried to explain AKP government’s undeniable contributions to the strengthening of the Gulen Movement within the TAF to such an extent that they made a coup attempt. But before, let me also talk about the National Security Board (NSC) decisions made in 2004 but not put into effect.  

When the MGK meeting was held on August 25, 2004, the AKP was about to fill its second year in power. As you know, the NSC is a meeting where the highest-level military and civilian officials come together, discuss national security issues, and make advisory decisions. Its decisions are kept strictly confidential.  

However, the 2004 NSC rulings have been known for several years. They hit the headlines of the Taraf newspaper, which is well-known for its contributions made to the construction of today’s Turkey, on 28 November 2013. We learned the decisions of the NSC meeting through this headline, which was a sign that the conflicts between AKP and the Movement will become even more intense.

 

The topic of this NSC meeting, which was held 12 years before the 15 July coup attempt, pointed to the danger that the Gülen Movement would create in the future. For this reason, at the meeting, an advisory decision suggesting to prepare an action plan against the Movement with the title «Measures to be Taken Against the Activities of Fethullah Gülen Group» was made and reported to the AKP government. 

The signatures under the decision belonged to the then President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and five other ministers, as well as Commander of Turkish Armed Forces Hilmi Özkök and other military members of the NSC: Aytac Yalman, Özden Örnek, Ibrahim Fırtına and Şener Eruygur. TAF, which was the owner of the proposal, recommended radical measures to be taken against the threats that the Gulen movement could create in the future, by closely monitoring the activities of the Gülen community, both within and outside the country. Let’s continue by reminding that three of the commanders who signed this decision were arrested through the scandalous cases, as well as what the government did during this period.  

After the decision was published in Taraf newspaper, the government made a series of explanations upon the reactions from conservative groups, who form the electorate base of AKP. The common point of the explanations was that it was an advisory decision and was never put into effect by the government. Yalçın Akdoğan, the Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister back then, wrote on his Twitter account that «the NSC decision in 2004 was null and void, it was not accepted by the Ministers Board, and no action was made». Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc also declared «None of the decisions accepted in the NSC has been put into effect since 10 years, and we have never passed any decision that could victimize any religious person and group. (On the contrary) We stopped the functioning of the National Security Politics Document.» 

It is also important that Arinc emphasizes the National Security Politics Document in his statement. National Security Politics Document defines the groups that the government has designated as internal and external threats. The Gülen Movement was also considered as an internal threat group in this document until 2010. However, as Arinc emphasized, the Gülen Movement was removed from the threat list by the AKP government itself.  

Let’s look how the Former MIT (National Intelligence Agency – NIA) Deputy Undersecretary Cevat Ones interprets the 2004 NSC decisions not having been implemented: «Despite the various concerns expressed, the fact that the 2004 NSC decision was not evaluated in time with respect to political and legal measures needed to be taken has accelerated not only the Gulen Movement’s invasion of the Armed Forces but also that of the Republic of Turkey and its institutions. »  

This is how Mr. Öneş, who was a senior manager at NIA, pointed out the AKP government as one of the major actors responsible for the occupation of the state by a religious organization. There are also statements that the AKP government has made regarding the issue and are criminal confessions.

 

Those who had not listened to the criticisms and warnings until the Movement targeted them, those who handed the state and all institutions over to the gang and partnered with their crimes, now want us to believe that they were just «deceived», 

No, you have not been deceived. On the contrary, you tried to fool us together.

I would also like to address that, although we have been saying this for years, the  judiciary of Turkey is entering into a futile effort such as presenting the Cumhuriyet newspaper as a (terrorist) organization and us as FETOists, while it did not open any investigations about the suspects and found their explanation «we were deceived» sufficient.

Let’s look at how AKP handed the judiciary over the Gulen Congregation. I will again quote from the report prepared by CHP about the 15th July coup attempt.    After the coup attempt, several thousands of judges-prosecutors were expelled from the judiciary, in which the Gulen Congregation had considerable importance, on the grounds that they were «members of FETÖ». Many of them were arrested.

CHP’s report includes striking findings about the staffing of judiciary members who are now purged. The report states that ​among the members of the judiciary who were purged with Executive Orders after the coup, the oldest member of the judiciary entered the profession in 1980. Since 1980 until 2002, the year AKP came to power, a total of 7,672 judges and prosecutors were appointed by different governments. Of these, the number of people who were purged after the coup attempt was 1,210. Proportionally speaking, among the members of the judiciary, which came to the office within the last 23 years, the percentage of those who have been purged given the allegation of having a connection with the FETÖ is about 16 percent. Let us now look at the period after AKP came to power.

The report defines the years between 2003 and 2010 as​ the first AKP period. In this period, 3,637 judges-prosecutors were appointed and 1,255 of them got purged. In a proportional statement, the share of those who were purged in total assignments is about 35 percent. The ministers of justice of this period were Cemil Cicek, Mehmet Ali Sahin and Sadullah Ergin.

The report examines the period between the 2010 Constitutional Referendum, in which demagogy of bringing the tutelage within the judiciary to an end was undertaken, and 17/25 December 2013, ​when the corruption investigations against the AKP were held, as the second AKP period. The ministers of justice in this period were Sadullah Ergin and Bekir Bozdag. Among the 2, 876 judges/prosecutors, who were appointed in the period of these two ministers, 1,192 appeared in the lists of expulsion. The share of expulsions in total assignments is about 42 percent.

The report elaborates the period after the end of the AKP’s partnership with the Congregation, that is from 2014 until the July 15, 2016 coup, as the third AKP period. The Minister of Justice was Bekir Bozdag. Due to the intensification of the AKP-Congregation war, there was a certain level of decrease in the share of congregation in the judicial appointments in this period.  Among the appointed 2,281 judges-prosecutors, 582 were purged. That’s about 26 percent.

If we give the total numbers for these three periods of the AKP by comparison, in the 23 years between 1980 and 2002, the Congregation’s staff within jurisdiction was about 16 percent, while in the 14 years between 2003-2016 when the AKP government was in power uninterruptedly, it was 35 percent. In these 14 years, 3,029 of the 8,794 judges-prosecutors appointed by the AKP have been purged. Proportionally speaking, the proportion of members of the judiciary that were purged due to the connections to the FETO in total assignments was 35 percent.

Even the export ratios for the period after December 17/25, 2013, which the AKP government has adopted as a milestone in investigations against FETO just to exempt its own government from the crime with a shallow cunning, are above the average of the period between 1980 and 2002. Let us finalize this issue by opening a parenthesis with regard to Bekir Bozdağ, who was the Minister of Justice until last week.

Bekir Bozdag is one of the four people who served as Justice Minister in AKP government’s 14-year rule. In his speech in the Parliament on 24 March 2011, Bozdag spoke about Fethullah Gülen as «a valuable asset that this country produced; a wise person. Everything about him is clear.» On June 9, 2012 Bozdag shared the following message from his personal twitter account: “From Antalya, I convey my greetings to Venerable Hodja Effendi.» On February 15, 2012 in a television program on the CNN TURK Channel, it was Bekir Bozdag who answered the question «is there a congregation organization in the judiciary?» by saying that “it cannot be possible.” On August 15, 2013, in the beginnings of the war between the Congregation and the AKP, it was Bekir Bozdag who owned the twitter message “they will not be able to burn an instigative fire between the Congregation and the AKP.»

Bekir Bozdag, who responded to the claims about the Congregation’s organization within the judiciary by stating that “it was not possible”, has an adventure of Ministry of Justice which lasted from 2013 until today. In these 4 years, until 15th July coup, Bozdag appointed 3,614 judges-prosecutors. In other words, ​41 percent of the total of 8,794 appointments, which happened during the 14 year long AKP government, was made by Minister Bozdag in 4 years. 1,228 judges-prosecutors (which corresponds to the 34 percent of the total) who were the appointed by Bozdağ, who did not see possible the organization of the congregation in the judiciary, were purged with the claim that they were members of FETO. These numbers and ratios tell us that:
Bekir Bozdag is one of the main people responsible of handing the judiciary over the Congregation.

However, while we were imprisoned by the accusation of being connected to FETO, Bekir Bozdag ruled the purge of the members of the judiciary appointed by him as the head of the Judges and Prosecutors’ Board in the capacity of Minister of Justice, until the last week when his task was decided to be changed.

 

Let’s also look at the situation within the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) where Hakan Fidan is the undersecretary, who received information about the 15th July coup hours ago but still could/did not prevent the bloody attempt.

One of the names that gave testimony to the Parliamentary Investigation Commission on July 15th Coup was the former MIT Undersecretary, Emre Taner.

In his testimony, retired Undersecretary Taner refers to the period between 2005 and 2010 when he was in service and says:

“In the period I was working, the infiltration of FETO to MIT was almost zero. You will not hire them unless you want it. If you have a good examination, you will not hire them. I do not know after then. The next administration will answer. Now, when it is said that “70-80 people separated from MIT due to connections to FETO,» it is not even possible not to find it strange. This does not belong to the past. Maybe 2,3,5 people. We have no objection to that. But in the recent period I have the impression that these entries became more comfortable and clearer. I can easily say that. MIT is the cleanest organization within the state institutions with regard to FETO and in the sense of other destructive organizations.”

The former undersecretary Taner, who clearly accused Hakan Fidan of the Congregation’s infiltration in MIT, thinks that MIT is the «cleanest organization» with regard to FETO. Let’s see whether there is any truth in it.

MIT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, who did not even go to the Parliamentary Investigation Commission on the July 15th Coup to give his testimony  or was not allowed to do so, on request, sent a report on the MIT staff connected to FETO. Journalist Müyesser Yildiz, my «old organization friend» with whom I was arrested and confined through the Congregation’s caliber on the basis of the lie that we were members of Ergenekon, explained the content of this report on the news portal named Oda TV.

According to MIT report, within 2,5 years since December 17, 2013 until July 15, 2016, action was taken against 181 personnel and after the coup against 377 personnel. In other words, a total of 558 personnel with FETO connections have been identified in the institution, which is claimed to be «clean». 167 of them have been removed from public service. As a result of the termination of the contract or resignation, the association of 70 has been cut off. The temporary assignment of 272 Turkish Armed Forces/Police personnel have also been terminated. In total, 509 MIT personnel were cut off from the organization, while the rest of the 49 personnel were undergoing various actions, while 5 were reinstated. There is no information on how many of the 558 personnel mentioned were appointed to MIT by the undersecretary Hakan Fidan since 2010. However, let me recall once again that the former undersecretary, Emre Taner, has accused his successor undersecretary Hakan Fidan about the Congregation’s infiltration to MIT.

It is not only the former undersecretary who voiced his accusations or skeptics about Hakan Fidan. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım is one of those who voiced their suspicions.

Let’s explain…

Today, we all know that from the statement made by the informant Major O.K. in the investigation by the Chief Public Prosecutor of Ankara, on 15 July 2016 at 14:00 he went to MIT and notify them that there would be a coup. However, MIT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan continues to insist that the notification was not a coup attempt. Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar also gave a statement confirming Hakan Fidan, saying that the Undersecretary had come to the headquarters and mentioned an air operation on MIT and a plan for his abduction. General Akar, although he said, «We thought it was part of a bigger plan», the tanks were on the streets about 7 hours after the notice to MIT. The war jets bombed the Parliament. Although the coup attempt was unsuccessful, 250 people were massacred. Because, it was not realized that military operation to MIT by using attack helicopters and the abduction plan of Undersecretary Hakan Fidan were parts of the coup attempt.

Or that’s what they want us to believe.

Now we are in the prison for telling these things, our doubts, and writing them. But those who admit that they do not have a capacity to understand that it was part of a coup attempt, continues to direct the army and the MIT.

We know that no one could reach Hakan Fidan for a few hours after the coup attempt had begun. Moreover, it is still an unknown why undersecretary Fidan informed neither Prime Minister Binali Yildirim nor the President Erdoğan, who calls Fidan as «My Secret Cube», about the coup attempt.
On 2 August 2016 night, the Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who was a guest of the joint live broadcast of CNNTurk and Kanal-D television channels,: “I asked to MIT Undersecretary why he had not told me. How come the Prime Minister, the President did not know?”. I said, ‘It is natural to say to the Chief of General Staff, but also you needed to tell the Prime Minister.’ “He could not answer.” In other words, the Prime Minister underlined the fact that MIT’s weakness was not only the lack of intelligence on the coup attempt.

In an interview with Prime Minister Yildirim, a year after the coup attempt, he squeezed an information between the lines which raises our doubts. Prime Minister Yıldırım’s interview with Fikret Bila was published in the Hürriyet newspaper’s «15 July Anniversary» edition. Yıldırım explains that he reached the conclusion after making phone calls to Istanbul and Ankara police headquarters that they were confronted with a coup attempt on July 15. He states that he was able get a hold of MIT Undersecretary Fidan  2 hours after the attempt started at around 22.30 – 23.00. Yıldırım says: «Information was not passed on to us, neither to me nor to the President. The Undersecretary (Hakan Fidan) did not say anything at that time. He did not say anything about the coup. I asked to him, ‘There is a coup attempt, what are you doing?’ . He told me: ‘ No, there is nothing, it is normal. We are working.’ «There is something different».

Let’s recall what was happening at that time when MIT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan explained Prime Minister Yıldırım as «There is nothing, it is normal».

At 21:00: The coup plotters captured the headquarters of the General Staff and the commanders. As they began to clash with those who resisted, gunfire began to be heard.

At 22:00: Guns were heard at the headquarters of the General Staff and the helicopter opened fire on those outside.

At 22:05 am: Although Chief of the General Staff did not allow to fly, war jets in Ankara have begun flying over the sound wall. Time 22:28: In Istanbul, the tanks closed the Bosphorus Bridges.

At 22:35: Istanbul Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen Airports were occupied by coup plotters.

All these developments were first announced by social media and soon afterwards by national television channels. Let’s also mention, shortly after the hours that Prime Minister Yıldırım said he spoke with Undersecretary Fidan, at 23:00, the headquarters of MIT in Yenimahalle, Ankara, was attacked by attack helicopters. But Hakan Fidan said to the Prime Minister that «There is nothing, it is normal».

As the Prime Minister stated «That business is different » indeed. And we will continue to look for the answer to the question of that ‘different business’ since, everyone has the right to know the facts especially the bereaved parents of those who put their lives in the line to prevent the coup.  

There is no doubt that, one of the stronghold of Gulen congregation within the state, is the Police Department. The major proof to this statement would be the different roles of the cops who are also members of the congregation in Ergenekon, Balyoz, Devrimci Karargah, KCK, Şike, Oda TV and similar conspiracy investigations and claims.   

After July 15th, more than 13 thousand police officers were removed from their positions due to the alleged connection to FETÖ. The vast majority of were arrested. However, we need to indicate that the number of the officers who are the member of the congregation is much more than that. 

The restructuring process of the Congregation’s organization in the police force has started in the 1980s. Therefore, AKP is not the only party who is responsible for this movement. Nevertheless, condonation of the AKP government of the cheating activities of the police force candidates in their exams or leaking the questions to Gulen’s teaching institutions before the exams, or ignoring the criticisms made them the sole responsible.

Let’s give some examples:

– The questions of the police officer exam, that was performed in August 26, 2007 and more than 71 thousand candidates all around Turkey have participated in, were appeared to be stolen before. After the topic took media’s attention it’s been claimed that it’s been cheated in the exam and the questions were leaked to the groups implying the Congregation. The Interior Minister of the period, Besir Atalay claimed that knowing the exam questions in advance or the leakage of the questions is not likely to happen. 

– ​8 months later, Besir Atalay’s ambitious statement was proven unsound. The Vocational Police School exam questions were leaked to the FEM training centers that are owned by the Congregation and serviced to some of the students with the answer key in September 13th, 2009. The exam, that more than 60 thousand candidates have participated, was cancelled when the subject was on the news. 

– It’s been identified that in the exam, that was performed by General Directorate of Security on March 12, 2012 to meet the deficit of intermediate level of chief officers and taken by more than 50 thousand police officers, it’s been cheated. 68 of those winners were related and 485 of those who were the strongest personnel that the Congregation has in the organization, the Intelligence and Anti-smuggling units, Prime Ministry Directorate of Protection, and Principal Clerk of the Ministry, have scored between 85-90. It is also emerged that the winners of 2011 exam have answered correctly the 19 questions that were already erroneous by the Court. 

The Congregation was picking its members from the police academy students in the 1980’s, while they have been directly placing their own members into the Police Organization by plagiarizing the exam questions during the AKP government. During the examinations, the AKP government preferred to ignore these claims that were subject of the complaint and reported on the news as well. Only after the investigations on the corruption charges on December 17/25 2013 that the Congregation has targeted AKP with, the AKP government opened judiciary and administrative investigations on the examinations.   

So far this is the summary of the iceberg’s tip including the military and judicial organizations who fired their guns towards their own people with the coup attempt, the Police Organization and MIT (National Intelligence Agency – NIA)’s situation and, AKP government’s responsibility.  

Obviously, the Gulen Congregation proceeded for their ultimate goal without striking a snag for 14 years during the AKP government. Moreover, the Congregation continued to raise and protect their gains within the system and didn’t face with a deterrent drawback, despite the MIT (National Intelligence Agency – NIA) investigation in February 7, 2012 that made their intentions very clear towards AKP and the investigations on the corruption charges on December 17/25 2013. It is possible to summarize the government response to the people who continued to criticize and warn AKP while noticing the growing danger by only one quotation. The AKP Deputy Chairman of the time, Huseyin Celik, responded to critics about the Congregations organized power in government as; “They mention that the Congregation seized the government, exuded into the government. These words would amuse the crows. Well, let’s end this paranoia.”   

There is one more anecdote that I would like to evoke. Gulen Congregation’s most powerful time was 2011. The members of AKP government, the majority of the media, and the vast majority of the members of the judiciary who are imprisoning everybody to prove that they are enemies with FETÖ, were afraid to mention neither the name Fethullah Gulen nor the Congregation. They obeyed the government powerful force, the Congregation, for their own benefits like they obey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and AKP now. I was arrested at that time as well due to Congregation conspiracy and the reason for that was also a professional activity as it is now. I was working on a book that was intended to investigate the Congregation’s police and judicial organized gangs during the Ergenekon investigation and its role in the case. The name of the book was «Imamin Ordusu” (“Imam’s Army») at that time, when everyone was afraid of the Congregation, being allegiant, and could not even mention its name.  

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the Prime Minister of the period and he was stating that «Some books are dangerous than a bomb.» For journalists held in prison, as he often did now, he said, «Not journalists, but terrorists.» Certainly, we do not have such an expectation, but if Erdoğan had read, listened to and understood the relationship between books, writers and journalists instead of keeping it at a criminal level, most likely we would not be here today. Moreover, if Erdogan was someone who read, he would also be aware of what Salvador Allende said to Fascist junta of Chile; «​History is ours, and people make history.»

Yes, history is on our side once again. So you will not be able to create an illegal organization neither in the Cumhuriyet Newspaper or terrorists from us.  

You must have understood from what I’ve told you so far. What I say is not defense or expression. On the contrary, it is an accusation. Because;  

As it states at the beginning of this text «The Indictment» that prepares the legal cover of this political operation does not legalize the shame that must be treated as trash. Just as some people who have their roles as judges and prosecutors before and after this political operation did not make themselves juriste.

This operation directed at us is nothing but a persecution aimed at the freedoms of thought and expression and the freedom of press; and some members of the judiciary undertook the task of being the lynch mob of this persecution.

In developed democracies, judiciary operates according to the international norms of law. It is a regulating power responsible for the establishment of justice; but in Turkey, some members of the judiciary themselves have become the grave diggers for justice. It is not surprising that in a country where dictatorship-aspiring people who are after the institutionalization of a system not bound by the regulations of democracy, to find a judiciary suffering in a political and intellectual destitution.

If you take away rights, justice, conscience and merit from judiciary, what remains is the current status of the Turkish judiciary. We know perfectly well from our experiences that the summons of humanity for rights, justice, legality do not reach you. Therefore, I will not have a request from you. I would only like to tell you that the robes that surround you like a protective armor, are made of human lives and freedoms.

The organization that you are looking for in Cumhuriyet Newspaper, is ruling the country under the disguise of a political party. The media that has become “his master’s voice” is serving the lies of this organization of vice as the truth to the public. They cover up the crimes and perform the task of proliferating the vice and making it banal. That is, spreading the Organization’s propaganda.

 

Because,  a well known truth is once again in front of us: Crime is the most potent adhesive in the world.

It is this adhesive that binds the political power, bureaucracy, judiciary, plundering capital and the media that has become “his master’s voice”.

Those who think that this dirty system, this crime dynasty will last forever are wrong. Like all the dictatorships that darken the pages of history, those who toil to progress with the insatiable hunger of their hates and ambitions, always prepare their own ends. When they arrive at their own hells the roads of which they themselves paved,  there will be nothing left of their glorious arrogance and mind boggling condescension.

No one should doubt that the siege of this organization of vice will be broken with all its persons and institutions. Because in this country;
– Despite the enemies of democracy, there are those who fight for a sustainable and far-reaching democracy.
– Despite those who ​slaughter justice, there are those who defend the supremacy of law.
– Despite those who glorify war and death to perpetuate their profits, there are those who struggle to make peace and life essential.
– Despite the child murderers and protectors of paedophiles, there are those who work to make the dreams of children realities.
– And despite those who want to strangle the truth, there are those who still want to be a journalist.

This is all I want to say to an operation that wants to criminalize my journalistic activities. This is not a statement for my defence, because I consider doing so as an insult to journalism and to the ethical values of my profession.

Because journalism is not a crime.

Criminalization of journalistic activities is a common feature of ​totalitarian regimes. My experience shows that because of my journalistic activities I have managed to become the offender of the judiciary of every government and of every period. I am proud of this inheritance I will be leaving to my daughter.

I know this government and its  judiciary also has some issues with me. Because I am trying to practice journalism. Today, I am practicing journalism depending on the power of the truth, not depending on the power of the government or other power centres as it is broadly practiced in Turkey.

Because  practicing journalism under the regimes that are not closely associated with democracy and gradually becoming more totalitarian, means crossing the line. And journalism cannot be practiced by toeing the line and you cannot call it journalism if it is done toeing the line. If you write and talk by permission, you will be crushed under the weight of your inaptness.

For this reason, what I am going to say is that I was a journalist yesterday. I am a journalist today. And I will continue practicing journalism tomorrow. That means the irreconcilable contradiction between us and those who want to strangle the truth will never end.

In these dark days what we need is not the further loss of the truth. More than anything we need more truth. Therefore, I will continue to respect truth more than myself and continue to refuse being one of the conformists that deny the truth. For this , it is obvious that a price must be paid. But do not think that this scares us. Neither I nor the “journalists on the outside” that I am proud to be friends with, are not afraid of you whomever you might be. Because we know that what scares the tyrants most is courage.

And the tyrants should know that no cruelty can prevent the progress of history.

Down with tyranny, long live freedom.

Translation by the Solidarity Group for the Freedom of Ahmet şık.

 

Turkey's judicial madness

 

The case against Ahmed Altan and his brother Mehmed Altan is the beginning of a long day’s journey into a dark night in Turkish legal history.

«What does the indictment say? We are said to know the men who are alleged to know the men who are alleged to have directed the coup.»

Judicial pornography

This is the beginning of the well-known Turkish author, Ahmed Altan’s defense against the accusations directed at him, implying that he has a connection to the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 last year. He even calls his defense speech for «A portrait of an indictment as judicial porn». We cannot be sure that the judges in Turkey understand the allusion to James Joyce.

The trial started Monday, June 19, with chaos outside the courtroom, where many international observers, family, friends, acquaintances and supporters wanted to observe the proceedings.

After waiting for a long time, the case was moved to another courtroom in this Kafkaesque palace, Caglayan in Istanbul (the world’s largest) before it was postponed for several hours due to the sound system. That’s how they work to get rid of bothersome listeners. In the end, we started in a small room in order to exclude half of the attendants.

Madness

And, dear reader, I ask you to continue reading, in order to be involved in the legal madness that is about to start in Turkey. For the case against Ahmed Altan and brother Mehmed Altan, also author and journalist, is the beginning of a long day’s journey into a dark night in the Turkish legal history.

Following the coup attempt last summer, not one single sentence has yet been passed, and the cases are only now starting. There are over 100,000 cases related to the event queued up for the constitutional!

In the case of the brothers Altan, 17 people are grouped together in one case to make it more effective. Several of these 17 have nothing in common and do not know each other, they are randomly merged. Only some of them are present in the courtroom, many of them have fled and already live in exile.

Twitter is the new power medium

The Altan brothers were arrested on 10. September last year and have been in custody since, in the famous prison Silivri, one hour’s drive west of Istanbul.

If you happen to be there, you will be presented to guards who can proudly showcase the world’s biggest prison! Not only that, but it is also the prison in the world which, as per today, has the most journalists and writers imprisoned, currently more than 170 people.

The Altan brothers were informed about the arrest through a twitter message containing a list of «journalists to be arrested.» The following day, this was repeated in the pro-Erdogan newspapers, and subsequently the police arrived and arrested the Altan brothers.

The indictment was announced in newspapers

Just as bad with the indictment. They were told that it was secret until it was published, some time ago, in all pro government newspapers – once more. Only then did Ahmed Altan know what he was charged with. And with what?  To know someone!

«First, let me ask this,» Ahmed Altan opened in court, «how can knowing someone be accepted as the evidence of a crime?»

The main foundation for the brothers’ participation in the coup on July 15 is that they both participated in a live TV show the day before. The program is ironically called Özgür Düsünce (Free Thought). The program can still be viewed in its entirety on youtube.

Talked about the coup

During the program they were talking about President Erdogan, that he cannot stay in power much longer, that there will be a new election in two years, and then Erdogan’s days may be numbered. Likewise, they also talked about the possibilities of a coup, and that coups are a part of Turkish history.

This talk about a coup means that the prosecutor believes they must have known about the coup the following day and that they must have been participating. The free thought and speech has become the paranoid state’s confirmation of a coup. It’s tempting to add that we, who have seen James Bond, know that if you’re a coup maker, you do not talk about it on a talk show the day before.

Consequently, Ahmed and his brother are accused of wanting to “overthrow the Turkish government, prevent the government from performing its duties, be a member of an armed terrorist organization and spread propaganda for a terrorist organization.» For this, they may risk a penalty of three times the life sentence + 5 years. The fact that the state adds five years demonstrates how it plays on the irrational and at random.

A judicial parody

The accusations against Ahmed Altan is over 200 pages, but that is easy when several of the witness statements and charges have been copied in several times. The court obviously did not care about proofreading.

Similarly, Ahmed Altan’s defense speech is 60 pages, and fortunately for us foreigners, translated into English. Altan´s text is in itself a literary piece of work about a judicial parody that could easily be a historical document from this era in Turkish history. Because ultimately, it is the literature that survives!

Writing about women, men and God

If anyone has asked the question who is this Ahmed Altan really? I can add that several of his books have been translated into English, and recently, while the author himself was in jail, his last book, “Endgame” was published.

It is difficult not to read the book as an allegory of today’s Turkey, while it is unmistakably Altan in the descriptions of the sexually released woman and the difficult interaction between man and woman. The passages of the conversation with God about who is really the best writer, God or the author himself, are cleverly done in a country where you should write intelligently about religion if you want to survive.

High spirits

Whoever wins the endgame is not yet settled. In a conversation I had outside the courtroom with the son and daughter of Ahmed Altan, they say that their father is in a good mood and in good condition.

Still they are only allowed to meet him one hour every Friday, and all they say is recorded and can be used against their father. But, as also his son and daughter say, his books are free, they are still translated into a variety of languages and travel freely around the world.

Judgment of the judges

In his defense speech, Altan ends with citing the English writer John Fowles – that all judges in the world will ultimately be judged for their decisions!

The judges of Turkey have a lot to answer for. Every day, between 300 and 500 cases from Turkey arrive at the Strasbourg Human Rights Court. And here, in the palace of Istanbul, we have only just begun.

On June 21st, there was a case against nine people associated with the Kurdish-friendly newspaper Özgür Gündem, and then on June 22nd the case against the writer Asli Erdogan and Necmiye Alpay, and then, in the coming days and weeks and months, cases against over 100,000 others – journalists, writers, teachers, nurses, attorneys and judges.

The judges will have a busy time and ultimately they will not judge, because the judges, as Altan finish his defence, “are the one who will be judged.”

Jørgen Lorentzen
Norwegian PEN

2017: Turkey: Oğuz Güven

Oğuz Güven, web editor of Cumhuriyet in Turkey, was arrested on 12th May 2017. He is charged with “Committing a crime in the name of a terrorist organisation” after publishing an online report on the death of public prosecutor Mustafa Alper.

 

Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ
Ministry of Justice
Milli Müdafa Caddesi
06659 Kızılay-Ankara
Republic of Turkey

Oslo 19th May 2017

Dear Minister,

Norwegian PEN is deeply concerned about the welfare of Oğuz Güven who was arrested on 12th May 2017.

The web editor of Cumhuriyet has been charged under article 220/6 of Turkey’s Penal Code “Committing a crime in the name of a terrorist organisation” after publishing an online report on the death of public prosecutor Mustafa Alper.

Norwegian PEN calls on the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Oğuz Güven and all of his detained colleagues from Cumhuriyet, as they are being held imprisoned solely in connection with their peaceful exercise of their right to expression.

We furthermore call on Turkish authorities to protect freedom of expression and human rights by ending the prosecution and detention of journalists based on the content of their writings or their alleged affiliations.

Yours sincerely,

Ms Johanne Fronth-Nygren
Member of Writers in Prison Committee
Norwegian PEN

 

COPY:

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım
Minister of Interior Affairs Selim Soylu
The Turkish Embassy in Norway
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

12. juni: The price of free speech in Turkey- A conversation with Leyla Zana

Photo: Hans Jørgen Brun
THE PRICE OF FREE SPEECH IN TURKEY
– Rafto Laureate 1994 and Kurdish MP in Turkey Leyla Zana in conversation with Nuray Yildirim Gullestad of Norwegian PEN

Introduction by Eugene Schoulgin ofNorwegian PEN

Place: Litteraturhuset in Oslo, Wergeland room.
Organiser: Rafto Foundation and Norwegian PEN

Leyla Zana is a fiercely independent spokeswoman for peace, democracy, and the right to self-determination for the Kurdish people. She has a remarkable story to tell, starting with her childhood growing up in rural Turkey, continuing through marriage at the age of 15, entry into Kurdish politics, her election to the Parliament in 1991 followed by ten years in prison, and finally the roller coaster ride of Turkish and Kurdish politics since Akp became a dominant party in 2002. Her life in politics is framed by the two of the most dramatic events in recent Turkish history – the coup of 1980 with its brutal aftermath, and the attempted coup of 2016, the aftermath of which is still ongoing. Zana is living in Diyarbakir.Nuray Yildirim came to Norway from Turkey as a political refugee in 1998. She is another remarkable Kurdish woman, working at the Norwegian Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi) on some of the most demanding challenges facing women, such as honor killings and forced marriage. She is also a writer, works on her Masters thesis on the participation of Kurdish women in political, and leads the western division of Norwegian PEN, based in Bergen.

En hilsen fra Asli Erdogan

Fra tid til annen får vi hilsener fra journalister, forfattere, bloggere og andre som Norsk PEN har aksjonert for.  Det viser at arbeidet vårt er viktig og nytter!

Onsdag 26. april tikket det inn en epost til Norsk PEN, med hilsen fra den tyrkiske forfatteren Asli Erdogan. Hun ble arrestert 17. august i fjor sammen med 22 journalister og ansatte i den kurdiske avisa Özgur Gündem. Hun ble beskyldt for «å ha propagandert for terroristorganisasjonen PKK».

Kolleger fra hele verden protesterte og aksjonerte for Erdogans løslatelse og frifinnelsen av alle fengslede forfattere og journalister i Tyrkia. Erdogan ble løstlatt 29. desember, men siktelsen mot henne og de andre journalistene står ved lag, Erdogan kan idømmes syv års fengsel.

Her er hilsenen fra Asli Erdogan:

Dear friends, colleagues, members of Norwegian PEN

I would like to express my deepest gratitude and sincere thanks to all Norwegian writers, publishers and journalists, all intellectuals for the great support and solidarity I warmly felt while I was in prison. Without the international attention and support, I believe, they were and still are intending  to keep me unjustfully in that stone coffin until I was more or less dead, spiritually and perhaps actually too. I do not know the right words to thank people for my life, but I  will try, probably keep trying rest of my life.. I THANK YOU ALL on behalf of all the writers who have been oppressed, brutally silenced, degraded, jailed. I THANK You all on behalf of the eternal victim, that I too temporarily represent.

Hoping to meet in person one day,

All the best
ASLI ERDOGAN


2017: Turkey: Deniz Yücel

Deniz Yücel, a Turkish-German journalist, has been charged with incitement to hatred and propaganda for a terrorist organisation. Yücel had already been jailed following the coup attempt on 15th July 2016.

 

Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ
Ministry of Justice
Milli Müdafa Caddesi
06659 Kızılay-Ankara
Republic of Turkey
info@adalet.gov.tr

 

Oslo 22nd March 2017

Dear Minister,

Norwegian PEN is urgently concerned about the welfare of the Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel who was detained on 14th February 2017.

Yücel, a German citizen, has been charged with incitement to hatred and propaganda for a terrorist organisation under Article 216 and Article 220 (8) of Turkey’s Penal Code, and remains in prison whilst no date for his trial has been set.

PEN calls on the Turkish authorities to immediately release Yücel and all other detained writers and journalists if they are not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and tried promptly in accordance with international standards of fair trial.

We furthermore call on Turkish authorities to protect freedom of expression and human rights, and refrain from using the state of emergency to crack down on peaceful dissidents, civil society, media and education.
Yours sincerely,

Ms Johanne Fronth-Nygren
Member of Writers in Prison Committee
Norwegian PEN

 

COPY:

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım
Minister of Interior Affairs Selim Soylu
The Turkish Embassy in Norway
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs