PM Erdoğan: Operation at police department just ‘a beginning’
ADANA / ELAZIĞ
Erdoğan addresses his supporters at a rally in the southern province of Adana, late July 23. AA PhotoA statement from Turkey’s presidential hopeful Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was clear in expressing his resolve to expand his fight against the so-called “parallel state,” while his decades-long comrade, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, has suggested the Fethullah Gülen movement should apologize to the government.
“This isn’t done – this is just the beginning. Those who have threatened our national security will be called to account for this. I declare that I will go after this parallel structure until the end, after I become president,” Erdoğan said late on July 23, delivering a speech at a rally in the southern province of Adana.
More than 100 serving and former top police officers have so far been detained since early morning raids were launched on July 22 in Istanbul and other cities, including the capital Ankara, İzmir and Diyarbakir.
The suspects are accused of espionage, illegal wire-tapping, forging official documents, violating privacy, fabricating evidence and violating the secrecy of an investigation.
The arrests are the latest episode in the rivalry between Erdoğan and his erstwhile ally, Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, following the huge graft scandal that shook the government after breaking at the end of 2013. The term “parallel state” is now commonly used by critics to refer to the movement of Gülen, who has been in voluntary exile in the United States for over a decade.
“The treason in Adana cannot be explained. Pennsylvania’s prosecutors, judges and its elements within the Police Department were involved in a very flagrant treason. Now, they are being called to account for this. This is what the Istanbul operation is about,” Erdoğan said.
He was referring to a prosecutor’s initiative to stop and investigate trucks heading to the Syria border on Jan. 19. The government slammed the prosecutors and soldiers involved in the operation, arguing that both the truck and the personnel were protected by the National Security Organization’s (MİT) legal immunity.
Interior Minister Efkan Ala said at the time that the trucks were carrying aid to Turkmens in Syria, but did not give details about its cargo.
Meanwhile, speaking in an interview with a local television channel in Elazığ late on July 22, Deputy Prime Minister Arınç made clear that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government had no intention of burying the hatchet with the Gülenists any time soon.
“Developments show that peace is out of question at the moment,” Arınç said, when asked whether the AKP and the Gülen movement might make peace or whether incidents would further escalate.
“There are incidents we have been through,” Arınç said, adding that he knew both sides very well and felt extremely saddened of the current situation.
“We cannot ignore these incidents. Thus, some things should be revealed. These people who have sheltered in certain places should give up these affairs. One more thing, of course, they should say: ‘We have done these things but excuse us, forgive us.’ As long as this is not done, no government and no state would accept a structure parallel to itself,” he added.
The deputy prime minister likened the Gülen movement to the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK), adding that “the parallel structure” had to be tried before the law, as was the case with the KCK.