Turkish PM hints at legal action against ‘gang’ within the state
Turkish PM Erdoğan speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony of a new metro line in Istanbul Feb 9. AA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted that legal action would be taken against what he calls the “illegal gang within the state,” repeating his government’s determination to eradicate the “parallel state.”
“Through the judiciary, we will let them pay for the espionage they have been carrying out,” Erdoğan told his Justice and Development Party (AKP) voters at the groundbreaking ceremony of a new metro line in Istanbul Feb. 9. “We will not allow this illegal gang’s efforts to infiltrate into the capillary vessels of the state.”
The prime minister did not give details about such legal action against the Fethullah Gülen community, or the Hizmet Movement, but some pro-government media were reporting that claims of espionage were being made against the movement.
Erdoğan said that the movement’s “roots were abroad” and claimed it was acting as part of an “international plot” against the national interests of Turkey.
The parallel organization is wrapping the opposition parties, the [Republican People’s Party] CHP and the [Nationalist Movement Party] MHP, around its little finger,” Erdoğan said, adding “certain business circles, media groups and civil society organizations” were joining this coalition to tarnish the government.
“The CHP is now cooperating with this parallel organization. You were critical of them until yesterday. What happened so that you became best friends?” asked Erdoğan.
Describing the corruption and graft probe engulfing Cabinet members that was launched on Dec. 17 as a new attempt to erode the government’s credibility after last summer’s Gezi protests, the prime minister said he would continue to inform the people about the “illegal activities of this parallel organization” as part of the local election campaign.
“They pressed the button on Dec. 17 and they targeted the Turkish economy, its national bank and national intelligence. They targeted the peace process that has been ongoing for the last year. Are there new fallen soldiers? That’s the point they are trying to provoke,” he said.
Also repeating his criticism against the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSİAD), Erdoğan said all top businesses in Turkey would be audited, refuting claims that certain businesses had been targeted for tax inspections. “Like a little shopkeeper who undergoes routine auditing, you will also be controlled. You might in the past have gotten different things from earlier governments but you won’t be able to do so with us,” he said.
Defending the Internet draft bill against growing criticisms that it will increase the government’s control over freedom of expression, Erdoğan criticized protesters against the bill in Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Feb. 8.
“I want everybody to know that Taksim Square is no longer the address of such protests. You will go and make your protests in designated areas,” he said.