Spying? Don’t bend the law so much

Spying? Don’t bend the law so much

Daily Cumhuriyet Editor-in-chief Can Dündar and the paper’s Ankara representative, Erdem Gül, have been arrested because of stories they wrote. 

Here is a chronology to better understand the issue in our country where everything is extremely confusing: 

Jan. 1, 2014: In the Kırıkhan district of southern Hatay province, trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) are stopped and searched. 

Jan. 19, 2014: In the Sirkeli area of southern Adana province’s Ceyhan district, MİT trucks are stopped and searched. 

May 15, 2014: An indictment accusing the gendarmerie and police officers who stopped and searched the MİT trucks in Hatay and Adana of a series of crimes, from being a member of a terror organization to spying, is accepted.

May 29, 2015: Some 18 months after the stopping of the trucks, a story written by Dündar in Cumhuriyet has photographs and videos of the search of the trucks and the report of the search. The debate of “The trucks were carrying weapons” versus “No, they were carrying aid material” which went on until that day comes to a stop. The fact that the trucks carried weapons is served to the attention of the public. 

July 15, 2015: The indictment about the prosecutors involved in the stopping of the trucks in Hatay and Adana is accepted. This procedure took longer because of their special legal status and because it met serious resistance at the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) at the beginning. The prosecutors, just like the gendarmerie and police officers, are accused of serious crimes, from spying to being a member of a (terror) organization.   Nov. 26, 2015: The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office asks Dündar and Gül to give a statement as “suspects.” After their statements, they are sent to court for their arrests. They are arrested on charges of “spying” and “acting on behalf of the terror organization by publishing the documents.” 

Let us leave the organization part aside and look at the spying issue.

Two serious cases are ongoing in this matter involving spying. One of them is at the Supreme Court of Appeals, the other at the High Criminal Court.  

If these two courts rule on spying, then the dates of the crime are Jan. 1 and Jan. 19, 2014. If stopping MİT trucks, searching them and exposing their contents are crimes then they were committed in January 2014 (if the court decides it is not spying, there is no need to talk about this matter). 

Well, are Dündar’s and Gül’s stories spying? No, they are not because these stories were published 18 months later than the date of the alleged spying incident.  

Well, what is the source of the stories? Dündar and Gül did not disclose their source in line with the basic rule of journalism. However, it is obvious their source is the file of the prosecutors in Hatay and Adana now being tried in relation to the trucks. 

In other words, the stories published are the evidence in the investigation file of the prosecutors in Adana and Hatay. This evidence is most probably already in the file or will be included in the file. 

In this sense, Dündar and Gül have done nothing but journalism and if our prosecutors want to absolutely accuse them, there can be only the matter of violating the secrecy of the preparation investigation. 

The spying charges against Dündar and Gül are absurd. 

Everybody in this country, primarily politicians and the Gülen community, have all wished to use law as a tool to reach their aims and they continue to wish so. At the point we have reached today, prosecutors and judges have now taken the side of making law a tool. 

Our situation is beyond grave.