Turkish PM Erdoğan accuses Taraf reporter of ‘treason’ over leak story
TEKİRDAĞ – Hürriyet
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses the crowd in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ during a mass opening ceremony on Dec. 7. AA photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed daily Taraf for revealing a document from a 2004 National Security Council (MGK) meeting, accusing the reporter who leaked the story of “treason.”
“Revealing state privacy is not called freedom, it is sheer treason,” Erdoğan said, addressing a crowd in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ during a mass opening ceremony on Dec. 7.
The statement comes a day after prosecutors launched investigations into the reporter, Mehmet Baransu, and daily Taraf. Separate criminal complaints were filed by the Prime Ministry, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the National Security Council (MGK).
The document, published by the newspaper on Nov. 28, revealed that the government had adopted an action plan against Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s movement during the MGK meeting. Its publishing further heated up the row between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Hizmet (Service) movement, which erupted after a reform to close test prep schools was announced.
In a subsequent report, also based on documents leaked by Baransu, Taraf claimed that the Turkish government had profiled a number of groups based on religion and faith through the MİT, many of them affiliated with the Gülen movement, and monitored their activities until 2013.
“I’m addressing those who accuse the government of profiling people. Who has leaked this intelligence information to your men, your supporters? Explain that, [because] there are very clear prohibitions regarding this in our Constitution,” Erdoğan said on Dec. 7, noting that all the institutions involved in the documents had been seized by prosecutors.
“Some are the state's private [information], which nobody has the right to reveal,” he added.
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.”
The Dec. 6 edition of Taraf responded to the charges featuring an editorial on its front page penned by its editor-in-chief, Neşe Düzel, stating “You cannot silence us.”
Baransu has previously put his name to many leak stories that transformed Turkish politics, including documents related to Balyoz (Sledghammer), a military coup plot against the ruling AKP said to have been planned in 2003.
Baransu asks PM to 'render account first'
Baransu also reported in June that the MİT and various other organizations had signed protocols to collect detailed information about every individual in Turkey.
On Dec. 7, Baransu said via Twitter that he found a hidden camera and a receiver in his apartment. “My source who told me that intelligence officers were following me warned me of this,” he said.
Baransu also responded to Erdoğan’s accusations of treason by asking him to account for why the government had profiled religious groups. “Why does an institution connected with [the Prime Ministry] profile a state employee on the grounds that he donated meat to the [Gülen] movement during the Feast of Sacrifice? Forget the treason and answer this,” he wrote.