Turkish PM Erdoğan slams judiciary, promises ‘cleaning’
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan talks to AKP members during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara on April 15, 2014. AFP PhotoShowing no let-up, Turkey’s prime minister has continued on the warpath against his erstwhile ally Fethullah Gülen, vowing to liquidate aspects of Gülen’s “parallel structure” in the judiciary while accusing the movement of allying with the Armenian lobby.
Those who commit crime and their collaborators will sooner or later appear before the courts and pay the price for what they did, the prime minister said. “We will surely clear the corridors of the courthouses of these gangs as we cleared the corridors of the state buildings from all sorts of gangs in the past. But it’s not easy to do so overnight. It’s a clearance of the last 35 years,” PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on April 15 at a parliamentary group meeting.
The leader also expressed his fury at judges yesterday, saying elements of the parallel state were hampering an in-depth prosecution of the espionage claims concerning the stopping of intelligence trucks bound for Syria. Six police officers and two army officers were detained for stopping mysterious trucks belonging to the spy service near the border, but the eight were later released by the court.
Criticizing the release of these suspects, Erdoğan blamed the pro-Gülen judiciary and its media for their release upon trial. “Releasing these suspects while there is very clear evidence about espionage and treachery is very meaningful. The same happened during the prosecution of the bugs [placed in Erdoğan’s working office]. The suspects were freely able to flee. The same happened during the prosecution on wrongdoings for university entrance exams. Years have passed now and the evidence has perhaps already been tampered with,” he said.
The Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) is watching these developments as if it is watching a movie, Erdoğan said. “I am asking for God’s sake? Is this only my concern? Is this only the AK Parti’s or the government’s concern? Isn’t it a matter of Turkey? What else could be worse than the wiretapping of this country’s president, prime minister, chief of general staff and judges and prosecutors?”
Slamming opposition parties and other institutions for not giving support to the government’s initiative to challenge such “unlawful acts,” Erdoğan said they would continue to defend the law and justice even if they are abandoned. “Some may bow to blackmailers. Some may have faced down threats.
Some may have overdrunk opium but we will closely follow this unlawfulness, and we will crack down on this gang fearlessly and without giving up,” he said.
Turkey’s prime minister also accused the Gülen community of allying with the Armenian lobby in the United States against Turkey in the wake of adoption of a resolution on the Armenian genocide in the U.S. Senate. Officials accused the Gülen community of carrying out a smear campaign against Turkey and the government inside and outside the country, especially in the U.S. and in Europe.
“A very, very nefarious smear campaign against Turkey is being run by cooperating with the Armenian lobby and by lending financial support to them. We are pityingly watching these people and their treachery because this is nothing but an expression of helplessness. This is nothing but the delirium of circles who have received a very harsh response from the people on March 30 elections,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan did not detail how the Gülen community could have been allied with the Armenian lobby, but pro-government media argued that the community funded the election campaign of U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, who initiated a Senate resolution commemorating the mass killing of Armenians as a genocide. The prime minister said the move was part of what he called the parallel structure’s efforts to tarnish the government’s image abroad.
“We perfectly know the sources and motives behind this campaign abroad. These are parallel operations to some domestic perception management operations,” he said, adding that the stopping of the trucks was part of the nefarious plot. “The goal of this attack was to defame Turkey as a country providing assistance to terror organizations. Can you imagine? Members of this gang located inside the institutions of this state conducted this to label their country as a terrorist country,” Erdoğan said, adding that even Turkey’s enemies did not dare to do act in such a fashion.
This campaign against Turkey is continuing with foreign newspapers and commentators, Erdoğan said in a reference to Seymour Hersh, the Pullitzer-winning U.S. journalist who reported that Turkey was behind a chemical attack last year in Syria. “Turkey is not a country whose reputation will be tarnished by columns written on command, erroneous reports or newspaper reports.”