Minister hints at Israeli links to Turkey’s ‘graft plot’

Minister hints at Israeli links to Turkey’s ‘graft plot’

Minister hints at Israeli links to Turkey’s ‘graft plot’

Interior Minister Efkan Ala. AA Photo

The so-called “parallel state,” which the Turkish government accuses of organizing a plot in last year’s corruption probe, started illegally gathering information on the government after two major crises with Israel, Interior Minister Efkan Ala has said, saying the “mind of the plot is abroad.”

“The Dec. 17 graft probe is only one phase of a process that started much earlier,” Ala was quoted as saying by Sabah, a daily newspaper close to the government, on the first anniversary of the corruption investigation, which embroiled Cabinet ministers, their relatives and a number of bureaucrats.

“We should considering the process from the ‘one minute’ incident. Everything starts at that point,” he said, referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s storming out of a World Economic Forum panel with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Jan. 29, 2009, after angrily protesting against the moderator and repeatedly shouting “one minute” in English.

“The hands of this plot attempt are inside the country while its mind is abroad,” Ala added, also highlighting the Mavi Marmara incident that occurred more than a year after Erdoğan stormed out of Davos.

In that May 31, 2010 incident, which torpedoed Turkey-Israel relations, Israeli naval commandos raided the Mavi Marmara ship carrying Turkish and foreign activists trying to break the siege on the Gaza Strip. The raid, which took in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea, killed 10 Turkish activists on the ship.

“The stance of the parallel structure [on these issues] is obvious,” Ala said, referring to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Some improvements in Turkey, such as steps forward in freedom of faith and conscience, the possible resolution of the Kurdish issue, and the country’s foreign policy, “have disturbed some foreign powers,” the interior minister said.

He also referenced the “illegal” police inspections of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks on Jan. 1 and Jan. 19, in which trucks bound for Syria were stopped and searched in the southern provinces of Hatay and Adana.

‘Country in the south’

In a Dec. 17 speech in the Central Anatolian province of Konya, President Erdoğan also slammed “dirty international powers” and the “parallel state.”

“Those who are under protection in Pennsylvania cannot come here,” Erdoğan said, referring to Gülen, who lives on a ranch in the U.S. state.

“Let them move together with the enemies of Turkey, with the Turkey-enemy media, with dirty international powers, and with their beloved country in the south,” he added, using a phrase he had previously used in apparent reference to Israel.

“We will not hand Turkey over to jesters who imitate hodjas [religious teachers],” Erdoğan said.

The president’s combative words came after a Dec. 14 media operation that included the detention daily Zaman’s editor-in-chief and the head of Samanyolu TV, both of which are linked to the Gülen movement.