Turkey. Ahmet Şik’s Statement in Court on 24 July 2017

Defending Freedom of Expression · In 2011, Turkish investigative journalist Ahmet Şik wrote a book titled The Imam’s Army, on the infiltration of the Fethullah Gulen movement into the Turkish state. The draft was confiscated by authorities and banned by a court. But the manuscript was leaked online. Şik was jailed for a year as part of the now-discredited Ergenekon trials alleging a secular plot against Turkey’s Islamist AKP government. The Imam’s Army was eventually published as 000Book with 125 journalists, academics and activists listed as editors.
In 2015, Şik published another book titled We Walked These Roads in Parallel about the relationship between the Gulen movement and Turkey’s ruling AKP party, who by then had suffered a dramatic falling-out. On December 29, 2016 Şik was detained again, this time on charges of aiding "terrorist organizations”—including aiding the Fethullah movement he had written about so critically. He is among 12 journalists and five board-members of Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest newspaper, now on trial facing up to 43 years in prison if convicted.
On July 24, 2017, after seven months in custody, Şik got a chance in court to rebut the latest accusations against him. His statement is below. A prosecutor later asked for additional charges to be brought against Şik for his “misleading” defence. Şik, who is being held without bail, and his co-defendants returned to court on September 11.

DR (December 2016).

I will begin by quoting the foreword of my book published three years ago, in 2014, titled We Walked These Roads in Parallel. The book was an investigation explaining the working of the mafia-like power pact between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Gülen Community. The foreword began:

The so-called ruling power, maintained by the union and mutual support of the AKP and the Gülen Community to transform Turkish politics and society, was a sewage system that exploded. The two powers, driven by the Machiavellian idea that the ends justify the means, built this ghastly phenomenon called New Turkey. The AKP and the Gülen Community then split.
Both are power centers that aim to grab control of the state and to establish their own authority, rather than democratizing the system and society. While they sought to create unshakable loyalty to the state they thought they would control in the long term, they battled their common enemies and, as we have seen, accumulated material to annihilate each other. It was clear from the foul smell arising from the sewage system that the day was coming that these materials would be used. The threats made through columns in the media; the underhanded purges; the occasional leaked telephone conversations; the lawless police and judicial operations aimed at common enemies and later at parts of the government itself; all were signs of what was coming.
When they believed they had no more enemies to eradicate, they aimed at each other in a battle over who would own the state. Indeed, the filth swept everything away, and is still sweeping everything away. It looks at the moment that it will continue this way. Religion, ethical values, are used in this war as lies to satisfy the needs of each side and these lies are more valuable to them than the truth. So do not be fooled by them. This war is neither for democracy and a clean society nor, as claimed by some, for peace and demilitarization. It is only to decide who will own the state.

Soon after these lines were published, the war between the AKP and the Gülen Community intensified.

The process of writing fake history that was begun by the government and its accomplices with the Ergenekon investigations in 2007, and the war over who would take the largest share in the looting of the state, ended up in a putsch. On July 15, 2017, a bloody putsch took place in which 250 people were slaughtered.

There are serious suspicions that the government knew in advance of this putsch, which we are asked to believe was the solely perpetrated by the Gülen Community. Even though a year has now passed and there have been many investigations, these suspicions have not diminished but, on the contrary, have increased.

Very many elements of the July 15 putsch, which appears to us to have aimed to create “controlled chaos,” are meant to remain in the dark, and it has become the most important milestone in the fake history that has been written in the last decade. The only truth of this fake history, which has been constructed with lies and the frequent use of the words “democratization-demilitarization,” is the people who were slaughtered by the coup plotters.

It is not for nothing that we call this “controlled chaos” and ask questions about elements of the coup that others want to leave obscure. The target of the putsch, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, let slip while the country was in the midst of a bloodbath that “This coup is a blessing from Allah.”

We have all seen, and lived, and are still living, what is meant by this blessing. We are passing through darker and darker days as they are trying to strangle the voices of people whose rights have been taken away, people who objected to this criminal system, and people who utter the truth. It will be summarized briefly.

The putsch was halted but the declaration of the State of Emergency (OHAL) suspended all the main rights and freedoms.

Tens of thousands of people have been taken into custody accused of being “putschists Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) members;” more than 50,000 have been arrested. Many have been subjected to torture.

Executive Orders (KHK) have accelerated the Turkish-Islamic design of the state and society. The dismissals that started in the public sector justified the suspicion that the only criterion was whether “you are with us or against us.” More than 110,000 public sector workers were fired. The empty posts left in the principal organs of the state, such as security, judiciary and education, were filled with AKP cadres based not on qualifications but on loyalty.

Many scientists and professors who had spent years educating students were suddenly declared to be terrorists and left with no job. Those who went on hunger strike to ask for their rights back were answered with imprisonment.

The questionable referendum, under the emergency law of the OHAL and without ballot box security, opened the way for the official end of the principle of the Separation of Powers, which was already dead in practice.

Judicial independence and neutrality, which has always been problematic in Turkey and has been proven only in rare examples, was completely discarded by judges and prosecutors who appointed themselves to serve only the interests of the government.

The violation of individual freedoms, with the terror of arrest, extended to the third-largest party in Parliament, representing six million voters. The HDP’s co-presidents, parliamentarians, and newly elected mayors were all taken prisoners. In fact, the arrests even reached to one parliamentarian of the main opposition party CHP, who had supported the provision enabling the arrests out of fear of being accused of “protecting terrorists.” Many non-governmental organizations have been shut down. Human rights defenders have been arrested. Tens of companies have been confiscated.

In a country which claimed that a coup had been halted and democracy reigned, tens of media organizations, whether print, radio or TV, have been shut down. If we don’t count the couple of newspapers and the handful of journalists who continue to resist the threats of investigation and arrest and economic pressures, there is not a single media organizations or journalists that does not cover up the truth. When more than 150 journalists were imprisoned, Turkey regained its title as the “biggest journalists’ jail in the world.” So much so that Turkey alone now has more journalists in prison than the rest of the world combined.

When we add to that list the journalists who are under the clamp of censorship and self-censorship, even though they are not in jail, the picture becomes even darker. Even though there are many media organizations that belong to different financial groups, under the dark shadow of the censor a monotone voice dominates the whole country. TV channels could only broadcast political programs in the presence of government commissars and were required to go live as soon as President Erdoğan spoke —even in his sleep.

With TV and newspapers in such a situation, the only platform left for political criticism was social media. If Internet access has not been blocked, or the Internet cut off by the state censor, you face no obstacle to exercise your right to criticize unless you write things that AKP’s paid trolls, or citizen informers, or prosecutors would not like. However, there is no guarantee when you exercise this right that you won’t be arrested.

This is a brief summary of the hopeless situation into which the country fell in the aftermath of the abortive coup.

Actually, instead of all these words, it is possible to say everything in one sentence: On July 15, the coup was blocked but the junta took power.

The indictments after the putsch express the aim of the Gülen Community like this:

Seizing the constitutional organs of the Republic of Turkey, the Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers, and after completing this process, redesigning the state, society and individuals in accordance with the ideology of FETÖ, and managing economic, social and political power with a select group with oligarchic characteristics.

Looking at this situation, we have just summarized, which emerged from this bloody putsch seen as a blessing from Allah, who is to say today that the purpose described by the indictments has not happened?

Have not all the constitutional organs of the Republic of Turkey, the Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers, been seized?

Through the OHAL emergency law and the KHK Executive Orders, are they not trying to redesign the state, society and individuals in accordance with their own ideology and interests?

Are they not trying to manage economic, social and political power through a select group with oligarchic characteristics with the intent and determination of looting the resources of the state and the country?

That is why the July 15 putsch, the greatest defeat of the Gülen Community, is at the same time its greatest victory.

That is because Fethullah Gülen’s idealized model of the state, society and the individual has been brought to life in the aftermath of the July 15 putsch.

No matter who has got his hands on this system, which is rapidly developing, and should be opposed by anyone on the side of democracy, it is patented by Fethullah Gülen. It is exactly for this reason that whatever Fethullah Gülen and his Gülen Community asked, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP government delivered.

At this moment, they are behaving as if they have no responsibility for the transformation of the Gülen Community, what is now known as FETÖ, which is factually without doubt one of the forces behind this bloody putsch, into a monster.

They want us not to say they are guilty, not to tell the truth.

They are using the blood of those who were slaughtered by the putschists for cheap and shallow political demagoguery.

Because those holding powers have a single aim: To maintain their totalitarian power, no matter what.

For that reason, they will be in a mood to do any wrong and give up anybody. On their long journey to power, there is a history full of examples of how, one by one, they have given up people they started out with. As soon as they thought they had finished their business with them, their expiration date expired and they needed them no more, they left them behind. They gave up their supporters, their collaborators, their accomplices, even their comrades. No doubt, those who remain with them and the latest recruits will be next.

Those who transformed the media almost entirely into a fanfare for their power, are now trying to silence with imprisonment those who insist on revealing their crimes and bad faith. They hope we will be frightened and shut up. Let’s continue speaking to prove - one more time - that they are mistaken.

The Gülen Community, which has a 45-year history, established its horizontal organization within the state in the first 30 years and achieved its vertical progress over the last 15 years. With opportunities provided by the AKP government, the Gülen Community, its unofficial partner in power, faced no obstacles to establish a parallel structure in the state.

The Gülen Community had accumulated considerable strength in the police and judiciary and in the operational units in the army.

With the AKP government, it was not difficult to settle into strategic positions and offices. Afterwards, by removing all the people, institutions and possible competitors in the official and civilian areas they had targeted for takeover they achieved a sphere of influence that met their priorities.

To be accurate, the greatest responsibility for allowing the Gülen Community to achieve the most dangerous power within the state and society falls on Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who confessed his guilt by saying “whatever they asked they got” and “apologizing for the help given,” as well as his 15-year single-handed AKP government. Therefore, they are among the culprits for the July 15 putsch.

I will explain with a few concrete examples, but before that it would be useful to refresh our memories.

Starting with “Ergenekon,” and continuing with “Sledgehammer,” “Military Espionage” and several other investigations, the officers in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) who were not members of the Gülen Community were thrown out in a series of conspiracy trials. The promotion of those who escaped arrest was blocked by a character assassination.

Then-Prime Minister Erdoğan declared himself the prosecutor of these cases. The AKP government, while being an accomplice to the lawlessness by providing political approval, also protected the conspirators against criticism and accusations. Now they are trying to hide their own role and guilt by shifting all the crimes and sins onto the Gülen Community.

There were very many people who were jailed at the time by the Gülen Community’s conspiracies and targeted by the media assassins of the AKP-Gülen Community partnership. Let us not forget that these people, some of whom were journalists, were collaborating in hiding AKP’s crimes and were in fact character assassins themselves.

To return to our subject: The Gülen Community, with these conspiracy trials, cleared the way for its own members by shaping the promotions list in the Turkish Armed Forces for its own interests and purposes.

In these trials, it was not only officers who were not members of the Gülen Community in the Turkish Armed Forces who were taken out of action. To eliminate the remainder, it was again the AKP government that came the aid the Gülen Community. Even though the war between them was still going on.

Let’s see what happened . . . within the legal amendment of May 2012 that reduced the obligatory service of military personnel from 15 years to 10 years, the Gülen Community calculated that some of the officers who were not themselves members would leave the Army. It did indeed happen that way.

The climate of fear created by the conspiracy trials and the loss of prestige of the Turkish Armed Forces yielded resignations.

Some important arrangements after the first legal amendment were interestingly made even after war broke out between the AKP and the Gülen Community. It was the corruption investigations of December 17 and 25, 2013, that turned the battle between the AKP and the Gülen Community into a total war and severed the relationship between them irreparably. The National Intelligence Organization’s (MIT) trucking operations, which proved that weapons and ammunition were being provided to some Salafi jihadist groups fighting against the regime in Syria, were also carried out in the process.

In this period when relations were severed, some regulations were made regarding military service based on the demands, suggestions and votes of AKP members in the Turkish National Assembly.

First, on February 11, 2014, with the backing of the AKP majority in the Assembly, military promotions were brought forward a year. As part of these promotions, many four-year colonels and three-year generals, including a large number of members of the Gülen Community, were included in the High Military Council (YAS).

At the same time, the generals who were not members of the Gülen Community could not be promoted within the decisions of the High Military Council (YAS), were with this arrangement to be retired and removed the Turkish Armed Forces.

The second change took place two months later. The Regulation on the High Disciplinary Boards of the Turkish Armed Forces, which came into force on 12 April 2014, established New High Disciplinary Boards to evaluate the expulsions from the army. A change made in the Officer Registrar Regulation established principles for the working of these High Disciplinary Boards which prevented expulsions from the Turkish Armed Forces for reactionary activities.

Another change was presented to the president of Parliament on December 30, 2015, by 37 AKP representatives. With this change of the law the waiting period for promotion from colonel to general was reduced to four years. In this way, the colonels who were Gülen Community members who had not yet earned promotion had their path cleared to become generals.

The last change was the Turkish Armed Forces Personnel Law No 6722, and the Law to Amend Some Laws. The officers who graduated from military academies in 1988 and before were the weakest cohorts in the Gülen Community’s organization.

This change in the law involved arrangement to reduce the service time in the Army to the 28 years. That would enable the Gülen Community to eliminate from the Turkish Armed Forces through retirement the officers from all three terms that had the largest number who were not members of the Gülen Community. It was envisaged that this proposal prepared by General Mehmet Dişli and General Mehmet Partigoç, who were allegedly the most important protagonists in the July 15 coup attempt, would enter into force as soon as it was accepted, except for one article.

The article, expected to come into effect after a High Military Council meeting in August 2016, was about the mass retirement of graduates of 1988 and before, which included the three terms in which the Gülen Community was least organized. A bill was introduced by the AKP group during discussions of the proposal in Parliament on the night of June 23, 2016, that made the article come into as force as soon as the law approved.

Due to the conspiracy trials run with the unlimited support of the AKP government and the AKP government’s legal reforms, the dismissals sought by the Gülen Community in the Turkish Armed Forces were to a great extent carried out. The picture that emerged after July 15 showed us what all this meant.

I can explain better what I’m trying to say with a quotation from the report of the Parliamentary Investigative Committee into the July 15 Coup, which includes a commentary by the opposition, prepared by the Social Democrat Party (CHP), titled The Predicted, Unprevented, and Exploited, Controlled Coup.

The information in the report shows that almost all the generals promoted by decision of the High Military Council (YAS) in 2011, 2012, 2013 were accused of being members of FETÖ (Fethullah Terrorist Organization.) The same accusation was made about 80% of promotions by YAS from colonel to general in 2014 and 2015 carried out under the AKP government’s legal reforms.

At the same time, it’s important to stress that 400 personnel were expelled from the Turkish Armed Forces for alleged membership of the Gülen Community between 1985 and 2003, when the AKP came to power, but that there were no such expulsions from 2003 until the coup took place.

After mentioning the National Security Council’s (MGK) 2004 unimplemented decisions, I will finish this Gülen section in which I have tried to explain the AKP’s government’s substantial contributions to the Gülen Community achieving such power in the Turkish Armed Forces that it could carry out this putsch.

When the National Security Council (MGK) met August 25, 2004, the AKP government was about to complete its second year in power. As you know, the National Security Council (MGK) is a meeting of the top soldiers and civilian administrators to discuss national security issues, which takes decisions that are in the form of recommendations. Its decision remains absolutely secret.

However, the National Security Council (MGK) decisions in 2004 have been known for the last several years. They were published on November 28, 2013, as a headline in Taraf, the newspaper that is well-known for its contribution to the construction of today’s Turkey. We learned of the National Security Council decisions in the news in the first stages of the war between the AKP and the Gülen Community, a signal that the conflicts would get worse. The subject of the National Security Council meeting that took place 12 years before the July 15 coup attempt was apparently the danger the Gülen Community would pose in the future. Thus, at this meeting, under the rubric “Necessary Measures against the Activities of the Fethullah Gülen Group,” the then leadership of the Turkish Armed Forces informed the AKP government of its recommendation to prepare an action plan against the activities of the Gülen Community.

The decision was signed by then-President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then-Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, and five other ministers, along with the Chairman of the General Staff, Hilmi Özkök, and other military members of the National Security Council, Aytaç Yalman, Özden Örnek, İbrahim Fırtı na and Şener Eruygur.

The Turkish Armed Forces, who made this recommendation, were suggesting an action plan to follow diligently the foreign and domestic activities of the Gülen Community and to take radical measures against the dangers that these activities could pose in the future. As we continue to explain what the government has done, let’s remember that three of the commanders who signed these recommendations were arrested in the conspiracy court cases.

After the story appeared in the Taraf newspaper, the government made a series of statements in response to the reaction among the public and among the AKP’s own conservative electoral base. The common point of these statements was that these decisions were only recommendations and that the government disregarded them and never implemented them.

Yalçı n Akdoğan, the chief advisor of the then-Prime Minister, stated on his Twitter account: “The National Security Council’s (MGK) decision in 2004 was considered void by the government. No cabinet decision was ever taken on it. No action was taken.” The then-deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç also said:

Not only have we not put into practice any of the National Security Council’s (MGK) decisions over the last 10 years, we have not implemented anything which would compromise religious groups or believers. We have abolished the functioning of the National Security Policy Document.

It is important that Arınç’s statement emphasizes the National Security Policy Document, because the National Security Policy Document defines the groups that have been identified by the state as domestic and foreign threats. In this document, the Gülen Community was considered till 2010 one of the groups that posed a domestic threat to state security. However, as Arınç himself stressed, the Gülen Community was removed from the threat list by the AKP government itself.

Now look how the former deputy chief of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Cevat Öneş, evaluated the non-implementation of the National Security Council’s (MGK) 2004 decisions:

Despite the various motivations expressed, the non-validation of the 2004 National Security Council decisions by the governments of the time from a political and legal perspective has increased the pace of the Gülen Community’s invasion not only of the Turkish Armed Forces but also of the institutions of the Turkish Republic.

This statement by Öneş, who had been a top official at MIT, identifies the AKP government as one of those most responsible for the occupation of the state by a religious organization. The statements by the AKP government on this issue are all out there and amount to a confession of guilt.

All those who handed the state and all its institutions to this gang, sharing the crime, without heeding any warnings and criticism until this Gülen Community targeted them, now want us to believe they have been “cheated.” No, you weren’t cheated. On the contrary, you tried to cheat together. Despite the fact that we tried to say this for years, let’s point out here that the Turkish judiciary found this explanation of being “cheated” satisfactory and did not start any investigation of the suspects, who made a useless effort to make us Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) members and make Cumhuriyet newspaper such an organization. Now let’s see how the judiciary was surrendered to the [Gülen] Gülen Community by the AKP’s own hand. I will now again quote the report on the July 15 putsch prepared by the Social Democratic Party (CHP).

After the coup attempt, several thousand judges and prosecutors were expelled from the judiciary, in which the Gülen Community had a considerable weight, on the grounds that they were “FETÖ” members. Many of them were arrested.

The Social Democratic Party (CHP) report contains striking findings about entrism by the expelled members of the judiciary. The report said the most senior of the members of the judiciary who were expelled by Executive Order after the coup entered the profession in 1980. From 1980 until the AKP came to power in 2002, a total of 7,672 judges and prosecutors were appointed by different governments. Since the putsch, the number of those who have been expelled is 1,210. If we express this in comparative terms, approximately 16 percent of those who started their job in this 23-year period have been expelled for links to FETÖ. Now let’s look at the period after the AKP came to power.

In the report, the years 2003-2010 are named as the first AKP period. Of 3,637 judges and prosecutors who were appointed during this time, 1,255 have been expelled. Expressed in comparative terms, a total of 35 percent of those appointed in this period while the justice ministers were Cemil Çiçek, Mehmet Ali Şahin ve Sadullah Ergin were expelled. The dates between the 2010 constitutional referendum, falsely represented as ending judicial tutelage, and the corruption investigations that began on 17/25 December 2013 were investigated in the report as the second AKP period. The justice ministers of this period were Sadullah Ergin again, and Bekir Bozdağ. Of the 2,876 judges and prosecutors who were appointed under these two ministers, the number of those expelled was 1,192. The percentage of the those expelled is approximately 42 percent.

The period after the end of the AKP’s partnership with the Gülen Community in 2014 till the July 15, 2016, coup is defined as the third AKP period. The justice minister was again Bekir Bozdağ. Because of the intensification of the war between the AKP and the Gülen Community, the Gülen Community’s percentage in judicial appointments falls noticeably in this period. Among the 2,281 judges and prosecutors, 582 have been expelled. Or approximately 26 percent.

If we compare the total numbers for the AKP’s three periods: In the 23 years between 1980-2002 the entryism by the Gülen Community was approximately 16 percent; In the 14 years of uninterrupted AKP government from 2003-2016, this ratio becomes 35 percent. Of the 8,794 judges and prosecutors who were appointed by the AKP in these 14 years, 3,029 have been expelled - so comparatively, the proportion of judiciary members expelled for links to FETÖ is 35 percent.

Even the expulsions for the period since 17/25 December 2013, considered a milestone of the investigations by FETÖ, in a shallow and cunning attempt by the AKP government to exempt itself from the crime, are higher than the average for the 1980-2002 period. Before we stop, let’s open a parenthesis on Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who was on the job till last week. Bekir Bozdağ is one of four people who served as the Minister of Justice in the AKP government’s 14-year rule. Bozdağ spoke about Fethullah Gülen during a speech he made in the Parliament in March 24, 2011: “He is a valuable asset raised by this country, a wise human being. Everything is clear.” Bozdağ is the man who shared from his personal Twitter account on June 9, 2012: “I convey my greetings from Antalya to the venerable Hoca Effendi.” It is the same Bekir Bozdağ who on a program on CNN Turk on February 15, 2012, answered the question, “Is there entrism into the judiciary by the Gülen Community?” by saying, “There is no possibility of that.” And it is this same Bekir Bozdağ who tweeted on August 15, 2013, at the start of the war between them and the Gülen Community: “They will not succeed in lighting the fire of sedition between the Gülen Community and the AKP.”

The Justice Ministry adventure of Bekir Bozdağ, who called the claims about the Gülen Community’s organization in the judiciary “impossible,” dates back to 2013. In these four years, until the July 15 coup, Bozdağ appointed 3,614 judges and prosecutors. Of the total of 8,794 appointments during the 14-year rule of the AKP, Minister Bozdağ made 41 percent of them within four years. Of the 1,228 judges and prosecutors appointed Bozdağ, who saw the Gülen Community’s organization within the judiciary as impossible, approximately 34 percent of them have been expelled for links to FETÖ. These numbers and ratios tell us the following: Bekir Bozdağ is the person most responsible for the judiciary being surrendered to the Gülen Community.

While we have been imprisoned accused of being members of FETÖ, Bekir Bozdağ, as Justice Minister at the head of the Judges and Prosecutors Board, was leading the expulsion of members of the judiciary that he himself had appointed, until last week, when the decision was made for him to change job. Let’s now look at the situation in the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), which was led by Hakan Fidan, who, even though he was informed about the July 15 coup hours earlier, did not/could not stop the bloody putsch. One of those who gave testimony to Parliament’s Investigative Commission on the July 15 Coup was Emre Taner, a former chief of MIT.

In his testimony, the retired chief Taner referred to the years 2005-2010 when he held the job:

For the period I was on duty, the infiltration of FETÖ into MIT was almost zero. If you don’t want it, you don’t accept it. You investigate scrupulously and you don’t take it. I cannot know about after that. The administration will answer about the following period. Even now when it is said that 70-80 people left MIT linked to FETÖ, it is something that is impossible not to find strange. This does not belong at all to the previous period. There may be two, three or five people. We don’t object to that. But the impression is that in the recent period these infiltrations became much easier and obvious. I can say so comfortably. MIT is the cleanest of the state institutions in terms of infiltration by FETÖ and other destructive organizations.

Let’s see now how much truth there is in the idea that MIT is the “cleanest institution” in terms of FETÖ, as former chief Taner says, openly accusing Hakan Fidan of the infiltration of the Gülen Community into MIT.

MIT Chief Hakan Fidan, who did not go or was not permitted to go to testify to Parliament’s July 15 Commission, sent a report, upon request, about FETÖ-linked personnel in MIT. “My old friend from the organization” journalist Müyesser Yı ldı z, with whom I was arrested for the [Gülen] Gülen Community’s lie that we were accomplices in Ergenekon, explained the content of this report on Oda TV news site.

According to the MIT report: In the two-and-a-half year period from December 17, 2013, till July 15, 2016, there were 181 personnel processed, and after the putsch there were 377. In others words, a total of 558 personnel were identified as linked to FETÖ in the institution that was claimed to be “clean.” Of those, 167 were expelled from public duty. Seventy of them were separated from the agency by resignation or contractual termination. 272 Turkish Armed Forces/Police personnel had their temporary duty ended. A total of 509 MIT personnel had their relationship with the agency severed, while various procedures continued against the other 49 personnel, five of whom were returned to duty. There is no information on how many of those mentioned in the 558 began their duty after Hakan Fidan was appointed chief in 2010. Let’s recall one more time, however, that the former chief Emre Taner blamed his successor Hakan Fidan for the [Gülen] Gülen Community’s infiltration into MIT.

It’s not only the former [MIT] chief who has voiced his suspicions or accusations against Hakan Fidan. Prime Minister Binali Yı ldı rı m is also one of those who have expressed their suspicions.

Let’s explain. . . We all know now from the statement by the informant major O. K., taken by the Ankara state prosecutor for the investigation they have started that he said he went to MIT on July 15, 2016, at 2 pm to tell them there will be a coup. However, MIT chief Hakan Fidan repeatedly insists that the tip-off was not about the putsch. The Chief of the General Staff, Hulusi Akar, also gave a statement confirming that Hakan Fidan came to the military headquarters and talked about a plan involving his abduction and an air operation against the MIT. Even though General Akar said “We considered that it was part of a bigger plan,” the tanks moved onto the streets seven hours after the informant’s tip-off to MIT. Warplanes bombed the Parliament. Although unsuccessful, 250 people were massacred by the putschists. But they didn’t understand that the planned military operation by helicopter against MIT to abduct Hakan Fidan was part of a coup attempt.

Or this is what they want us to believe.

We are now in jail because we wrote this and expressed our skepticism. However, the people who confess they have no capacity to understand that such a plan would be part of a coup attempt are still in charge of the army and the MIT. We know that for several hours after the start of the putsch no one was able to reach Hakan Fidan. Moreover, it is still a mystery why Chief Fidan did not inform either Prime Minister Binali Yı ldı rı m nor President Erdoğan, who calls him my “well of secrets,” about the possibility of a coup. Prime Minister Binali Yı ldı rı m, who was the guest of a joint broadcast by CNNTürk and Kanal-D on the night of August 2, 2016, said:

I asked the MIT Chief why he didn’t inform me. I said, ‘The Prime Minister, President did not know. How is that possible? It is natural you told the General Staff but you should have told the Prime Minister too.’ He didn’t answer.

In other words, the Prime Minister too was underlining MIT’s intelligence weakness during the coup attempt.

Prime Minister Yı ldı rı m was raising our suspicions by placing information between the lines in an interview a year after the putsch. The Hürriyet newspaper published an interview with Prime Minister Yı ldı rı m by Fikret Bila in the “July 15 anniversary” edition. In the interview, Yı ldı rı m explains how he reached the conclusion that he was facing a putsch attempt on July 15 as a result of his meetings with the police in Ankara and Istanbul. Yı ldı rı m, underlining that he was only able to reach MIT chief Fidan two hours later at around 10:30 pm-11 pm, continues:

Information was not transmitted to us, neither to me nor to the President. The chief (Hakan Fidan) did not say. At that moment, he did not say anything about the coup. I asked him, ‘A coup is taking place, what are you doing?’ ‘Nothing,’ he said. ‘There is nothing. All normal. We are working,’ he told me. The job there is a different thing.

Let’s recall what happened during those hours when MIT chief Hakan Fidan told Prime Minister Yı ldı rı m: “There is nothing. All normal.”

21:00: The putschists seized the headquarters of the General Staff and took the commanders captive. Gunfire was heard as they began to clash with those who resisted.

22:00: Gunfire was heard in the headquarters of the General Staff and a helicopter opened fire on those outside.

22:05: Despite the flight ban ordered by the General Staff, warplanes broke the sound barrier over Ankara.

22:28: Tanks closed the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul.

22:35: İstanbul Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen airports were seized by the putschists.

All these developments were first heard on social media and, soon afterwards, on national TV channels. Let’s point out that at 23:00, soon after Prime Minister Yı ldı rı m said he spoke to chief Fidan, there was an attack by military helicopters on the MIT headquarters in Ankara’s Yenimahalle. But according to Hakan Fidan, as he told the Prime Minister, “There is nothing. All normal.”

As the Prime Minister said, “The job there is a different thing” indeed. We will continue to search for the answer to the question of what that different thing is. First of all, because the grieving families of those who sacrificed their lives trying to stop the coup, but also because everyone else, have the right to know the truth.

The police force is undoubtedly one of the Gülen Community’s major strongholds in the state. The emerging role of the Gülen Community’s policemen in the Ergenekon, Sledgehammer, Revolutionary Headquarters, KCK, Şike, Oda TV and many other similar investigations and cases is proof enough of this claim.

After July 15, more than 13,000 police were thrown out of the profession because of alleged links to FETÖ. Most of them were arrested. However, it is important to note that the number of Gülen Community members among the police in the Security Organization is much higher than this.

The Gülen Community’s infiltration into the police force began in the early 1980s. Therefore, it’s not only the AKP government that is responsible for it. But under the AKP government, the fact that no effective investigation was conducted into stolen exam questions for police candidates, or the facilitation of copying or the leaking of exam questions to the Gülen Community’s preparatory schools, and that such criticisms were dismissed, makes the AKP solely responsible.

Let’s explain with a couple of examples:

  • Questions from the examination across Turkey on August 26, 2007, leading to the admission of more than 71,000 police candidates, were revealed to have been stolen. After the story broke in the media, there were claims that there was copying in the exam, and questions were given to certain groups, implying the Gülen Community. The then-Interior Minister Beşir Atalay claimed that it was impossible to provide the exam questions to the candidates who entered the exams or for them to be known beforehand by some people.
  • This boastful statement by Beşir Atalay was refuted eight months later. In the Police Profession High School exam that took place on September 13, 2009, the questions were leaked to the Gülen Community’s preparatory school FEM and were distributed to some students along with the answers. When the issue came out in the media, the exam for more 60,000 candidates was canceled.
  • It was determined that in the examination of more than 50,000 candidates that took place on March 5, 2012, to address under-staffing in the middle management of the General Directorate of Security, there was copying. In the exam, 68 of the winning candidates were found to be relatives of each other, and 485 people working in the personnel, intelligence and smuggling units, where the Gülen Community was most powerful, and the Prime Minister’s security office and ministry’s special administrative directorate received between 85-90 points in the test. In the same exam in 2011, all the winning candidates answered the same 19 questions correctly that a court found were actually wrong.

The Gülen Community, which in the 1980s recruited its members from cadets who had already police schools, began under the AKP government using stolen exam questions to put their members directly into the security organization. The AKP preferred to dismiss criticism about these events when they became news in the media because of complaints during the exams. After the Gülen Community targeted the AKP in the December 17/25, 2013-corruption investigations, judicial and administrative inquiries were opened into the exams. The tip of the iceberg formed by the judiciary and the army attempting a coup and shooting its own people, and the situation in the police force and MIT, and responsibility of AKP governments, can be summarized in this way.

It is certain that for 14 years of AKP government the Gülen Community continued towards its ultimate target without encountering any obstacle. In fact, even though they made their intentions clear with the February 7, 2012, MIT investigation and the 17/25 December corruption investigations, instead of facing any deterrent they protected their gains in the system and continued to grow. It is possible to summarize with one single quotation from all the answers given by the government to those people who, seeing the growing danger, criticized the AKP and warned them. The AKP’s deputy head of the time, Hüseyin Çelik, in an NTV interview on February 20, 2012, responded to the criticism of the Gülen Community’s organized power within the state:

They say the Gülen Community has seized the state, infiltrated the state. This makes crows laugh. Let’s leave these paranoias aside.

There is one more anecdote I won’t pass up. It was during the time that the Gülen Community was at the height of its power in 2011. Members of the AKP government, most of the media, the overwhelming majority of the members of the judiciary who are making great efforts these days to prove they are the most ferocious enemies of FETÖ, could then mention neither the Gülen Community nor Fethullah Gülen by name. They were scared. As they are now doing to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP, they were worshipping the Gülen Community as the strongest power in the state. At that time, I was among those arrested by the Gülen Community’s conspiracy. The reason, as it is today, was again my professional activity. I was working on a book with the intention to investigate the Gülen Community’s organized gang within the police and the judiciary, and its role in the Ergenekon process and trials. At the time when everybody was scared of the Gülen Community, worshipping it, and not even able to name it, my book was called “The Imam’s Army.”

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the Prime Minister of the time and was saying, “Some books are more dangerous than a bomb.” As he has done for the journalists now in jail, he was often saying at the time, “Not a journalist. Terrorists.” Obviously, we have no expectations. However, if Erdoğan kept his relations with books, their writers, and journalists not on the level of criminality, but by reading, listening and trying to understand, most likely none of us would be here today. Moreover, if Erdoğan was someone who read, he would know the words of Salvador Allende to Chile’s fascist junta: “History is on our side and it is written by the righteous.”

Yes, history is on our side again. Therefore, neither will you find an illegal organization in Cumhuriyet newspaper nor will you find any terrorists among us. I’m sure you have understood all the things I have said up till now. What I’ve said is not a defense or a statement. It’s an accusation. Because:

The title “Indictment” at the top of the text giving the legal excuse for this political operation does not legalize this shameful certificate, which deserves to be treated like garbage. Just as the words judge prosecutor written before the names of some of the people who took on these political operations, now and previously, does not make them lawmen.

This operation against us is nothing but a pogrom targeting the freedom of thought, freedom of expression and the freedom of the press. And some members of the judiciary accepted the duty to be the lynch mob of this pogrom.

In developed democracies, the judiciary works within the universal norms of law. It’s the power that oversees the implementation of justice. But some members of the Turkish judiciary have personally become gravediggers for justice. In a country where enthusiasts of dictatorship are rushing to build a system disconnected from democratic oversight it is not surprising obviously that the judiciary suffers in political and intellectual misery.

If we subtract right, justice, conscience, and merit from the law, what is left is a judgment in Turkey. From the experience we have lived, we know very well that the call to humanity, law, justice and right does not reach us. Therefore, I will not make any demands. It will be sufficient for me to say that the robes that surround you like armor are made from human life and freedom.

The organization you are looking for in Cumhuriyet newspaper is running the country clothed as a political party. The media, which became the mouthpiece of their owners, is presenting this evil organization lies as truth. By covering up this organization’s crimes, the media is performing the duty of spreading and popularizing evil. In other words, they are doing propaganda for the organization.

Because the best-known truth is standing right in front of us in all its crookedness: Crime is the strongest glue in the world.

It is this adhesive that binds political power, the bureaucracy, the judiciary, predatory capital, and the mouthpiece media.

Whoever thinks this dirty scheme, this crime dynasty, will last forever is mistaken. Just as with all the dictatorship that darkens the pages of history, people who try to get ahead with their insatiable greed and hate always prepare their own end. When they arrive in this Hell they have built with their own hands, neither their pompous arrogance nor their blinding audacity will be there.

Nobody should doubt this evil organization’s blockade will be broken, with all its people and institutions. Because in this country:

➞ There are people who struggle obstinately against democracy’s enemies for lasting and widespread democracy.
➞ There are people who continue stubbornly to defend the rule of law against those who slaughter the law.
➞ There are people who resolutely make a principle of peace and life, against those who bless war and death in order to further their interests.
➞ There are people who stubbornly struggle to realize their children’s dreams against those who massacre children and protect pedophiles.
➞ And there are people who continue doing journalism against those who throttle the truth. This is all I have to say against this operation that tried to make my journalistic activities appear a crime. And this is not in any way a defense. Which I would consider an insult to journalism and the ethical values of my profession.

Because journalism is not a crime.

To make journalistic activities into a crime is a common denominator of totalitarian regimes. I know from my experience that, thanks to my professional activities, I manage to be judged as “evil criminal” by each political power and period. I am proud of the heritage I will leave for my daughter.

I know this government, and its judiciary, have problems with me. Because I’m trying to be a journalist. Today, I practice my journalism supported by the power of truth, not as is commonly practiced in Turkey, supported by political power and various power centers. Because journalism means crossing the line in regimes, like Turkey, which could not consolidate its democracy and gradually become more totalitarian. And it’s not possible to do journalism by toeing the line. Whatever is done by toeing the line is not called journalism. If you speak and write only with permission, you will be crushed by your weakness and dishonor.

Therefore, all I’m going to say is: I was a journalist yesterday. I am a journalist today.

Tomorrow too I will be continuing to be a journalist. So this uncompromising contradiction between us and those who want to drown the truth will never end.

In these dark days our need is not a loss of more truth. More than anything, above all, we need more and more facts. Therefore, I will continue to respect the truth more than myself, and reject those who worship denying the truth.

It is obvious one has to pay a high price for it. But don’t think that this scares us. Neither I nor the “Journalists Outside,” whom I’m proud to count as friends, are afraid of any of you, whoever you are. Because we know courage is the most frightening thing for tyrants. And all the tyrants should know this: No cruelty can prevent the flow of history.

Down with despotism! Long live liberty!