Freedom of the press and the right of property
What was the major malice done to Turkey by the community that cumulated around Fethullah Gülen and what is called “the parallel structure?”
Yes, there are dozens of serious charges including phone tapping, making a tool of the justice mechanism, resorting to espionage in the name of struggling with the political power and many others I cannot count here. All of these have been prosecuted.
I think the biggest evil this community has done was causing the disappearance of rule of law and legal security.
The structure of the state is one that acts according to a set of provisions of law which ensure that everybody is treated equally. However, when community members started challenging these fundamental rules for their own special agendas, rule of law and legal security disappeared. Turkey became a country where anything could happen to anyone at any time.
If you did not donate to the community in a small town, then your workplace could be raided by Finance Ministry inspectors in the morning and police could detain you in the evening. If you were involved in acts that might shake the long-term interest of the community, anything could have happened to you. If the community wanted to place staff in the public institution where you were employed, then all of you could have been jailed so that posts would be vacant for community members.
We have gone through these things and now we are trying to fight the structure which executed them. However, we cannot and we should not conduct this struggle with the methods the community used at the time at the cost of suspending law and legal security.
If we want to win this fight and ensure Turkey will never again be subjected to this or another community’s similar attacks, then we should keep everybody, including the members of the community we are charging, within legal security and never step outside the boundaries of a state of law.
I do not have a good command of the details of the court decision or the evidence in the prosecutor’s investigation behind the decision that led to the appointment of a board of trustees for daily Zaman, and later Cihan News Agency.
Nevertheless, no matter what this evidence is, they should not have reached a result where they restrict freedom of the press and more importantly total restriction of the right of property. Also the court’s decision to appoint a trustee or any court’s decision to appoint trustees for the management of companies just because a prosecutor asked for it, I think, are unharmonious things with European law.
Is it claimed that the Zaman was supporting terror? There is a penalty for this in the penal code. If the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) is a terror organization and if Zaman is its media organ there is a very solid anti-terror law and penal code articles already penalizing this situation.
If Zaman, as claimed, is not bought by 600,000 subscribers but actually has been sold to a very limited number of people en masse and their subscription fees are collected in a form of racketeering, then there are dozens of control methods and penalizing forms to disclose and prevent this situation.
While such control paths, laws and actually very heavy penalties exist, in fact, taking a shortcut and seizing the control of the management of a newspaper and a news agency should not have even crossed anyone’s mind.
That this has been done not only damages the fight against the parallel structure but transforms Turkey into a country where the right of property hangs at the mercy of the prosecutors.
Moreover, it is not the property of an ordinary thing; it is the ownership of a newspaper, television channel and news agency…
Apparently those prosecutors who are fighting the parallel structure are not aware of what they are doing to Turkey.