DEMOCRACY DISINTEGRATING IN TURKEY AS DOZENS OF JOURNALISTS JAILED

The Islamofascist AKP government’s campaign to silence opposition in Turkey is in full swing: Soner Yalçın, a renowned investigative journalist, and three of his colleagues, who operate Odatv.com, a news website harshly critical of the AKP government, were detained by the police on February 14th.  Odatv.com’s offices, and the journalists’ residences were stormed by scores of police officers in an early morning raid and searched for 12 hours. Four days later, the journalists were officially placed under arrest for being members of the dubious “Ergenekon” terror organization and for spreading “hatred among the population,” a clause commonly invoked by the AKP-controlled state prosecutors to detain dissidents.

Ergenekon is the name given to an alleged illegal group, which, Zekeriya Öz—the prosecutor of the investigation—claims, aimed at overthrowing the Islamofascist AKP government. Since the launch of the investigation in 2007, over 100 people have been arrested; the detainees are mostly journalists, army officers, scholars, medical doctors, authors, union leaders, and university professors, who have been known for their opposition to AKP’s Islamization policies. No one has yet been sentenced, and most of the suspects are being held on “secret evidence,” which the AKP-controlled prosecution refuses to present to the defense.

The questions the police asked Soner Yalcin and his colleagues during interrogation clearly depict the political nature of the arrests:

  • Why did you make news about the possible spread of the uprising in Egypt to Turkey?
  • Why did you have a copy of the book about Fetullah Gulen by Ahmet Sik on your computer? [Explanation: Gulen is the leader of the notorious Islamic sect, which has entirely penetrated the police force and the judicial system in Turkey. The police found a draft of the book on Soner Yalcin’s computer. Ahmet Sik, who was working on the book, was later arrested on March 3rd.]
  • Why did you make news about the Ramadan dinner? [Referring to the Ramadan dinner, which was organized for prosecutors, judges, and the police chiefs who lead the Ergenekon case]
  • Why did you make news about the mix-up of uploading information by the police to a suspect’s cell phone, although you have been warned not to do so? [Referring to the news of planting of false evidence by the police in a cell phone of an army lieutenant, who was arrested as part of the Ergenekon investigation. The police denied planting the evidence and said the report about it was due to an administrative mix-up. Someone called Odatv.com and asked the journalists not to make news of the incident.]

As if this was not enough, 11 more journalists were arrested in another wave of raids on March 3rd. Among those who were taken into custody were Nedim Sener and Ahmet Isik, both of whom are known for their work in bringing to light human rights abuses by Turkish law enforcement agencies. Nedim Sener won a number of journalism awards, including for his investigation of the assassination of the famous Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. His reporting revealed that the Turkish police knew of the assassination in advance but did not prevent it. He also proved that the police team which has lately led the arrests of dozens of dissidents is also responsible for covering up the police complicity in Dink’s murder.

As mentioned previously, Ahmet Sik, who is the other star journalist thrown in jail, was in the process of completing a book on Fetullah Gulen and his infamous Islamic sect’s taking over of the Turkish police force. Sik said flat out that his arrest is related to his new book, which must have been obtained illegally from his computer and brought to the attention of the leaders of the Gulenist establishment within the police organization. Another high profile dissident rounded up in the latest round is Professor Yalcin Kucuk, a renowned Socialist scholar, author, and pundit, who frequently runs afoul of the Islamofascist AKP government. The press reported that the police recovered from Prof. Kucuk’s office 22 thousand documents, written in various languages.

The latest rounds of arrests of journalists in Turkey are a testimony to the fact that Ergenekon trial is nothing but a campaign to silence the opposition and suppress freedom of press in Turkey. Today, one cannot talk of the rule of law in Turkey, as the police and public prosecution act as party organs of the AKP and collaborate in going after dissidents who dare to object to the Islamofascist rule.

Independence of the judiciary is also gone after the judicial amendments that have been enacted through a referendum on September 12, 2010.  The so-called “reforms,” supported by the European Union despite the warnings of the Turkish opposition parties, have brought the judiciary function under the full control of the executive branch, i.e. AKP. Thus, the Islamofascist party has obtained free rein to appoint whomever it likes on the benches of the Turkish courts, including the Contitutional Court, which is the highest judicial body in the country. The European Union has eagerly given a hand to the AKP for eliminating the freedom of press, freedom of expression, and freedom of dissent. The EU is therefore, an accomplice of the AKP in the destruction of the Turkish democracy.

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