Media Arrests Lead To AKP-Gülen Power Struggle?

Gareth Jenkins writes about the arrests of journalists critical of the Gülen movement as part of a larger power struggle between PM Erdogan and the Gülen movement. He suggests that the Gülenists, through their influence in the security forces and courts, have shut down any critical media voices by accusing them of belonging to a terrorist organization  — Ergenekon, which originally had been construed as a series of coup plots against the AKP government by rogue elements of the “deep state”, but has since taken on the characteristics of a witch hunt (my term) against anyone critical of the Gülen movement.

This has tarnished not only the Ergenekon case (which Jenkins claims was already plagued by faulty evidence), but also embarrassed the AKP which is entering a new election in June on a platform of democracy and freedom of expression. The blatant arrests have led to mounting international criticism. Jenkins sees the recent removal of the Ergenekon chief prosecutor Zekeriya Öz as an opening salvo in Erdogan’s attempt to reassert power. Jenkins also points to a split within AKP: PM Erdogan (who belongs to the Naqshbandi Sufi order) wishes to change to a presidential system in which he can become president, while President Gül (who Jenkins says has the support of the Gülen movement) opposes this move. (click here for the full article; thanks, Hans, for bringing it to my attention.)

64 Responses to “Media Arrests Lead To AKP-Gülen Power Struggle?”

  1. Hahaha, the joy of communicating in two languages, lemme make it 2.25: Estagfirullah, kusur ne demek, bilakis, istifade ve tenevvur ediyorum.
    Dunno about the joke, our wonderful mainstream press has begun to report it though it is unclear if they got confirmation (what good are these people, really?).

  2. In case anyone is interested in the latest disgrace about the control of the ‘net, they can look up ‘tevil yoluyla ikrar’ after reading this: (in short, yes, they confirmed that the decree is authentic and they also indirectly confirmed what anyone with half a brain already knew about them.)

  3. Here is the official response (my emphasis):

    Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığınca vatandaşların yoğun şikayetlerine konu olmuş alan adları ve içeriklerinden hareketle tespit olunan bir kısım sakıncalı kelime grupları, hosting hizmeti yapmakta olan yer sağlayıcılara bilgi amaçlı olarak bildirilmiş ve bu kelimelere içeriklerinde yer verilen alan adları ile ilgili tedbir alınması talep olunmuştur.

    Bu içerikleri barındıran İnternet sitelerinin 5651 sayılı Yasanın 8. maddesinde yer verilen katalog suçlar ile ilgisi kapsamında yetkililerince gözden geçirilmesi ve suça aracılık edilmemesi amacına matuf olarak tarafımızca gerçekleştirilen bildirimden ibarettir.

    5651 sayılı yasa kapsamında yer sağlayıcılara I numaralı anahtar kelime grubunun geçtiği alan adlarının barındırılmaması, II numaralı anahtar kelime grubunun alan adından ve III numaralı anahtar kelime grubunun ise içerikten kontrol edilerek gerekli önlemlerin alınması amacıyla gerçekleştirilen bildirimden ibarettir.

    Bu sözcüklerle ilgili yasaklama söz konusu olmayıp, yer sağlayıcıların katalog suçlardan birini işleyen siteleri tespit etmelerini kolaylaştırmak için sunulmuş anahtar sözcüklerden ibarettir.

    One paragraph says it is banned, then the next says it is not!

  4. That’s why I haven’t posted anything about it. There was an article (in Milliyet maybe) that said it was just a recommendation.

  5. As you can see, ‘suca aracilik edilmemesi’ is there. That by itself is an implicit threat. After the election they may come down somewhat harder (the ‘filtering’ scheme is supposed to kick in this summer).

  6. Bulent: You don’t want to tighten the screws too early 😉

    The problem is that these laws are poorly designed at best, and oppressive at worst. They are unclear and, when push comes to shove, you can bet that the law is going to interpreted in favor of the government. Does anyone know who drafted law 5651? There is some useful information here and here.

  7. I’d say TIB, obviously, isn’t doing its job properly –as defined by laws–; otherwise, if they had, they wouldn’t have had to write such letters that are bound to leak.
    All they had to do would be to use a web-spider software and visit (and scan for whatever they are looking for [*] in) every single IP that is physically hosted within the country.
    [*: In parallel with those trigger words, any site that links to too many smallish video clips, pictures etc. can become a suspect.]
    They could, then, automate even sending of the investigate-and-report-back orders by email directly to the ISP sys admin and none of us would ever hear about it.

  8. I just saw this as I was traveling back where I live. Thanks for sharing the news. Let’s see what happens.

    ps: I did ask about the nickname because I had chosen it for an experiment; I was curious to see whether people would treat me differently, and you know what happened when I was mistaken for a woman (as I had anticipated). Anyhow. Thanks for the info.

  9. Emre, it is not just 5651, the climate that exists for the regular world in other laws is making itself felt on the ‘net too. The state and the laws aren’t really getting more oppressive it is just that the existing attitudes are making themselves felt in the new medium.
    There is a genuine problem here: the political culture cannot handle the kind of freedom that’s facilitated by the net. Of course, once given the means of centralized control backed by laws, everyone brings out their lists.
    I want to see how they will make it a crime to by-pass these new filters and how they will treat those new criminals.

  10. Oh it seems the big guy has spoken too. Here’s one relevant excerpt from eksi but the entire thing is worth reading/watching:
    He has this gem about laughing in there too:
    Dinimizde, gayr-i meşru eğlencelere, kasdî ve iradî olarak lâubâlîliğe, birilerini güldürmek için şakalar yapmaya, ölçüsüzce gülmeye ve güldürmeye, dolayısıyla zamanı israf etmeye müsaade yoktur.
    Don’t be joking with the intent of making others laugh, now. You heard the man. Weeping, on the other hand, appears to be fine.

  11. When the laws don’t make sense, can you blame people for breaking them? They make up a new nonsensical or Draconian law every week. If we have Fethullah Gulen to thank for this one I will be mad.

  12. I don’t know if Gulen is behind this. I don’t think there needs to be any influence for stuff like this to happen. Gulen may simply be telling his people to not join whatever chorus might form against the upcoming regulations. Then again he foretold some investigations etc. too. Hard to know since his press has a lot of trouble telling the truth (how’s that for an understatement?) and the test of the mainstream press won’t touch him.

  13. Huh? Nothing new happened and now CNN is covering it:

    Friends of Finkel?

  14. Finkel is making noises in the NYT too:
    I don’t understand where this ‘oh we thought they were fine and would be good’ thinking I keep hearing is coming from. They were never fine, all it would take was a peek at the Turkish version of Zaman to see what kind of an outfit they were. I thought journalists were supposed to have been around the block quite a few times more than ordinary people.

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