Journalist Ahmet Şık sharply criticized Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws and the religious Fethullah Gülen community while addressing the Liberal Democrat Group in the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday, only 16 days after his release from prison.Source: Turkish Weekly
“Many a journalist who assumed a critical stance toward the AKP [Justice and Development Party] and the Gülen community, the government’s invisible partner, [or] attempted to maintain a dissident outlook toward their policies either lost their job or had to keep quiet through auto-censure,” journalist Şık told his audience at the European Parliament.
Şık cited the names of Ruşen Çakır, Nuray Mert, Çiğdem Anad and Mehmet Altan as some of the journalists who were fired after slight criticisms, and went further to elaborate on the elusive nature of the Gülen community. “The Gülen community is a phantom. They are everywhere but nowhere. They are the cause of fear in society because they control the police,” he said.
An explanation is warranted as to why the Gülen community is so eager to organize within the police and the military, Şık said, adding that he had also been targeted by the community because he asked such questions. “This system has to distort everything, as it has been enslaved by its own lies. It distorts the past. It distorts the present. It distorts the future,” Şık said, paraphrasing a 1978 article by former activist and late Czech President Vaclav Havel.
The Gülen community is both avenging the past and trying to destroy its political opponents by organizing within the judiciary and the police, according to Şık. “The Anti-Terrorism Law [depicts] everyone who is a dissident or exhibits unfavorable behavior as a ‘terrorist,’ through a mentality that is based on protecting not the interests of citizens but of the state. The State Security Courts, which were allegedly abolished, have changed only in name. The legal but lawless order of the past still rules the day under the [guise] of specially authorized prosecutors and courts,” he said.
The ongoing Ergenekon probe and other related trials are also nothing but a farce intended to prosecute individuals and institutions targeted by the Gülen community, according to Şık. Şık also rebuffed claims that journalists jailed in Turkey are not under arrest for their professional activities, and said the prosecutors and judges who questioned them primarily asked about their journalistic activities and sources.