Opposition MP shares assassination intelligence with government

Opposition MP shares assassination intelligence with government

An opposition member of the Turkish Parliament revealed in a press conference on Dec. 20 that he shared intelligence with the Turkish government about potential assassination attempts targeting certain Turkish citizens living Europe.

Garo Paylan, the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy for Istanbul, said he had confirmed intelligence about a Turkey-based structure planning to carry out assassinations against Turkish nationals living in Europe, especially in Germany, who are known as opponents of the Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) government in Turkey.

Paylan said he shared the intelligence with AK Parti officials and Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT), adding that some of the names targeted had already been put under security protection in the countries where they live.

“Thousands of academics, journalists and politicians have been forced to live in Europe because of the political atmosphere in Turkey,” Paylan said, referring to the arrests, court cases and job dismissals that took place with state of emergency decrees imposed in the wake of the July 15, 2016, military coup attempt in Turkey. He also claimed that three assassins were assigned by a “secret structure,” similar to Ogün Samast, who killed journalist Hrant Dink on Jan. 19, 2007 in broad daylight in Istanbul.

Paylan, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent like Dink, said a hate campaign smearing Dink of “being a traitor” had been launched to psychologically prepare the public for his murder.

In a telephone interview on Dec. 21, Paylan said he thought such a structure could be made up of “those who assumed personal missions encouraged by the current political atmosphere in Turkey, or something even more serious than that.” He said it could also consist of people who were seeking an opportunity to carry out another coup attempt or wanted to further distance Turkey from the EU and the West. Paylan recalled that Turkey in its past has seen similar structures attempt to destroy dialogue between the AK Parti government and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan between 2012 and 2015, which was done through MİT and the HDP.

Police officers on duty at the time of Dink’s murder have recently been arrested; they have alleged links to the illegal network of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamic preacher accused of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt. The Gülen network is also accused of destroying the Oslo talks between MİT and the PKK.

When asked whether he was suspicious of the Gülen network of being behind the assassination, Paylan said he did not have adequate information to confirm that, but regarding the Dink murder he said, “Those who made the decision to kill him were part of a secret structure in security institutions and there were Gülenists within it who were aware that Dink would be killed but did nothing to stop it, in order to create more hostility in the political atmosphere.”

Paylan urges President Tayyip Erdoğan, political figures and journalists to stop using the language currently used against dissidents and halt targeting them in order not to let the political antagonism to escalate, which could lead to similar consequences, “God forbid.”

Murat Yetkin, hdn, Opinion