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Police chief's new book claims religious organization infiltrates gov't

ISTANBUL - Daily News with Wires | 8/22/2010 12:00:00 AM |

Controversy continues over a book written by the chief of police in Eskişehir province about Turkish religious leader Fethullah Gülen’s congregation.

Controversy continues over a book written by the chief of police in Eskişehir province about Turkish religious leader Fethullah Gülen’s congregation and its infiltration of state organizations and the Interior Ministry has opened an inquiry into the work.

Hanefi Avcı’s book, “Haliç’te Yaşayan Simonlar: Dün Devlet Bugün Cemaat” (‘Devotee’ Residents of Haliç: Yesterday State, Today Religious Congregation), allegedly exposes the police force and other departments of state that have been infiltrated by the Gülen congregation’s leaders and imams.

Avcı claims leaders of the congregation have wiretapped numerous government offices and published information from their phone conversations if the exposure benefits the goals of the congregation. A quote from the book reads: “We should realize that we are not dealing with friends or colleagues, we are dealing with an organization that is dictated by an ideology.” Avcı wrote that police officers, judges and prosecutors with special authority and chiefs of police are members of the congregation and that the congregation directs all of their actions.

Avcı said he decided to write the book when the chief advisor to the prime minister ignored all the evidence on the organization he had accumulated, as well as his complaint that his phone calls were being illegally monitored.

Avcı specifically identifies the investigation and related trials of the murders of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink and the Trabzon Catholic Church’s priest Andrea Santoro as being directed by secret members of the congregation.

In the book, many of the judges and prosecutors appointed to cases investigating the alleged Ergenekon gang, the Council of State attack in 2006 and the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) case are all said to be connected to the Gülen congregation. Avcı wrote that although there are some documents and evidence that the alleged Ergenekon gang exists, there are no records of their activity, and that their participation in the aforementioned murders and attacks in Turkey is falsely presented to the community by the Gülen congregation.

Avcı included a section on what should be done about the Gülen congregation’s presence in government and state institutions, saying that the only way to prevent further injustice and corruption is to replace the judges and prosecutors currently investigating the Ergenekon and Balyoz cases, as well as those investigating the unresolved murders. Avcı wrote, “People opposing the views of the Gülen congregation are in danger as long as the members of the congregations are in such crucial positions in the government.”

Avcı was formerly an Internal Ministry civil servant and has served in police forces in Edirne, Mersin and Diyarbakır provinces and the city of Istanbul and has been chief of police in Eskişehir since 2009. Avcı also served on the Parliament’s Investigation Board into the Susurluk accident. He was arrested in 1998 for leaking phone conversations at the National Intelligence Agency, or MİT, on a debate program on TV, but was later released.

The book includes a narrative of his personal experiences during these periods, as well as his previous claims regarding the Gülen congregation’s infiltration into the police force, the gendarmerie and MİT.

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