Turkey’s intelligence service begins probe into 'foreign links' of Gezi Park protests

Turkey’s intelligence service begins probe into 'foreign links' of Gezi Park protests

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s intelligence service begins probe into foreign links of Gezi Park protests

Protesters in Kennedy Street witness another police intervention shortly before midnight on June 20. Ankara residents have been lending support to the Kuğulu Park protesters via a popular form of passive defiance, the ‘standing person.’ DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turkey’s intelligence service has launched a comprehensive investigation to uncover foreign links in the three-week-long Gezi Park protests, upon the government’s instruction.

“Different units of MİT [National Intelligence Service] are working on different aspects of this movement. The outcome of this work will be submitted to the government,” a senior security official told the Hürriyet Daily News June 21.

Although the protests erupted following a harsh police intervention against a handful environment activists protecting the trees in Gezi Park, at the heart of Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the government believes the mass uprising was a plot against Turkey, in which some foreign powers and international financial institutions played a crucial role. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other top government official have also said they have evidence of this.

MİT’s different units have started to work to find international links to the plot, officials confirmed. “Any incident like this, with this magnitude, is of course under investigation. Our organization is working on this,” they said.

‘Natural for intelligence’

The incident has many dimensions, including security and keeping public order, officials said, adding, “It’s only natural for MİT to come up with its own findings. They would surely be shared with the government.”

A pro-government newspaper, Yeni Şafak, reported a scenario focusing on a possible revolt in Istanbul being discussed at a meeting held at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in February. Government officials have credited such scenarios, adding that the purpose was to slow down the economic and political rise of Turkey. They have also claimed that international media played a part in this plot by agitating the protests through one-sided broadcasting and publications.

The Foreign Ministry has also started research on how these incidents have been conveyed in other countries. “I demanded a report detailing which efforts these countries took to create a perception against Turkey, which instruments were used in this process, what our embassies did and what were our citizens’ reactions,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said.

The initial findings of the probes conducted by MİT, the Foreign Ministry and other state institutions will be discussed at large at the National Security Council (MGK) meeting slated for June 25. Interior Minister Muammer Güler is expected to brief the council on the protests.