LOCAL > Turkish daily Taraf's reporter faces spying probe for leak story


Daily Taraf’s Baransu is the target of a ‘spying’ investigation after his recent publication of a document from a 2004 National Security Council meeting

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Baransu has had his name under many ‘leak reports’ that set Turkey’s agenda throughout the AKP’s time in government. DHA photo

Baransu has had his name under many ‘leak reports’ that set Turkey’s agenda throughout the AKP’s time in government. DHA photo

Prosecutors have launched an investigation into daily Taraf reporter and columnist Mehmet Baransu, after he controversially revealed a document from a 2004 National Security Council (MGK) meeting.

The probe is investigating charges of “obtaining documents regarding state security,” “political or military spying,” “exposing documents regarding the state’s security or political good,” and “revealing forbidden information,” over Baransu’s publication of a state action plan against the activities of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s movement.

The document, published by the newspaper on Nov. 28, had heated up the row between the government and the Gülen movement.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç subsequently confirmed the document’s existence, but denied that any action had been taken after its signing. The document was signed by, among others, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other Cabinet members.

Arınç said the government definitely did not follow through with the recommendations, and also added that revealing secret documents was a crime and prosecutors should deal with it accordingly.

The Anatolia Public Prosecutor Press Crimes Bureau launched an initial investigation into Taraf’s report but, following a ruling of lack of jurisdiction, the file was sent today to the Istanbul Public Prosecutor, which is in charge of terror crimes.

The Prime Ministry, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the National Security Council (MGK) on Dec. 4 filed criminal complaints against Taraf and its reporter Baransu over the revelation of the 2004 MGK decisions.

Main opposition: Cases against daily a blackout

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said criminal complaints filed by the Prime Ministry, the MİT and the MGK against a journalist from Taraf aimed to “hide the truth from people.”

“If you limit freedom of newspapers and journalists, then you limit people’s right to be informed,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in response to questions on Dec. 6.

“Taraf is an important newspaper, it is reporting whether you like it or not. But free reporting of journalists is one of the fundamental conditions of democracy. Everybody should be careful about this.

The filing of criminal complaints is aimed at preventing people from learning certain truths that are being hidden by the government from the people. In that regard, I don’t think it is right,” he said.

The Dec. 6 edition of Taraf featured an editorial on its front page penned by its editor-in-chief, Neşe Düzel, stating “You cannot silence us.”

The reporter under investigation, Baransu, has had his name under many “leak reports” that set Turkey’s agenda throughout the AKP’s time in government. He had previously exposed documents related to Balyoz, a military coup plot against the ruling AKP said to have been planned in 2003.

Baransu also reported in June that Turkey’s intelligence agency MİT and various other organizations had signed protocols to collect detailed information about every individual in Turkey.

He was acquitted on charges of making “confidential and prohibited documents” public in 2010, after a lawsuit was filed against him over his report on military intelligence about an attack at Turkey’s Aktütün outpost in the southeastern province of Hakkari in October 2009.

The Turkish Air Forces Command had also filed a complaint against Baransu and Taraf’s managing editor for slandering the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and its personnel through their reports of fraud inside the army.


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Notice on comments

Can Oz

12/7/2013 9:34:03 PM

AKP supported Taraf's "spying" when they targeted the old guard. And when AKP became the target, this "spying" becomes treason. What hypocrisy. Just another day in Turkiye

Brian Irlanda

12/7/2013 7:43:48 PM

The fascists government strikes again.


12/7/2013 3:29:51 PM

Whatever was left of the mask has slipped too, but I doubt it will make much difference in the end. Millions do not care. Their votes and consciences are for sale. Justice of others is of no concern to them.

Landos Landos

12/7/2013 3:18:54 PM

Publishing leaked documents is 'treason', but profiling people is acceptable. Only in Erdogan's Turkey is this possible.

Suki Yoda

12/7/2013 9:07:38 AM

Mr. Erdogan is a fierce advocate of democracy in neighboring coutries, but he often forgets to abide by the democracy rules in his own country. In his opinion, because he was elected with a large majority, no one has the right to criticize him or the action of his government ! I think he needs to read more about democracy definition :).

Scandi Navian

12/7/2013 2:25:21 AM

As far as I recall, Erdogan valued the Snowden leaks. When leaks happen in his own country however, the tone is entirely different... Having said that, if anyone should be prosecuted, that would be the source of the information, not the publisher. Moreover, as far as I know, it is a breach of law to put pursue domestic civil society without any court order. -When are we going to see the PM and the other signatories of this illegitimate resolution in court?

T. Franklin

12/7/2013 1:07:38 AM

Perhaps Deputy Prime Minister Arınç ought to be prosecuted for confirming that such a document exists.....Let's see, what were the charges above: “exposing documents regarding the state’s security or political good,” and “revealing forbidden information”

Foreigner .

12/6/2013 11:33:46 PM

This is related to internationals: interesting how quickly they forget or chose to ignore the struggle against journalists in the Snowden Case, Bradley case, Wikileaks, etc.


12/6/2013 10:00:53 PM

No difference between this case and the soldier being prosecuted for leaking an intelligence document about Reyhanli that the AKP claims isn't a real document. Perhaps sometimes they have trouble keeping track of their own lies?

Tekir Feline

12/6/2013 8:16:23 PM

Turn it as you like, either the documents can be seen as import and the Gülen movement is a security threat to Turkey, in this case the Gov. failed to act appropriate, because it ignored the documents they signed, or the documents aren't important in this case all governmental accusations against Taraf just a stupid diversionary tactic to hide their own inaptness, because why do they sign such papers. Get rid of this Gov, that works only for its own profit, not Turkey's.
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