“The enemy of my enemy is my enemy”: The Gezi Case in the shadow of Gülenism

18.07.2019 medyascope.tv
Translated by: Melissa Clissold /
Orjinal Metin (tr-7/18/2019)

Hello, good day. The second hearing for the hurriedly put together “Gezi Case” has begun today in Silivri. The only businessman that has been arrested is Osman Kavala, as you know, and there are several people facing trial who have not been arrested. I believe that this case actually shows how Gülenism still has an effect on the judiciary and therefore the governing political powers. The witnesses, those being put on trial, and their attorneys have been trying to express this in different ways from day one. Rightly, they are saying that the tapes and the interceptions being used as a foundation for the case, were all created and carried out by the Gülenist organisation within the police and the judiciary. And the team that’s preparing the case isn’t denying this, they are solely saying that the work carried out during that period has “gained value.” We are seeing here that years later, in order to open a case, they still need the conspirator mind that the Gülenists had at some point, they need certain documents that have been created with a purpose of conspiracy.
So, what did the Gülenists want from those currently being put on trial regarding the Gezi Case, why were they obsessed with them? Why are the ruling political powers obsessed with the same people? Because this is a completely political case, we know this. There is seriously nothing that can be used as evidence, seriously, there is nothing. It is an endeavour to punish those who the Gülenists felt uncomfortable with yesterday, and today, to punish those who the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Erdoğan find disturbing. But in an interesting way, they are both disturbed for different reasons and they can benefit from each other’s work. Why were the Gülenists so disturbed by these people yesterday? I want to explain this with a few words in this broadcast.  
First of all, Osman Kavala, as you know, is one of the first names that come to mind when we mention civil society. He is a businessman, let’s say the son of a rich family, he has received a good education and has undertaken a lot of the family business, but at the same time, he is also someone who has gotten involved with civil society activities and publishing too. I know him a little and I like and respect him, he has done a lot of work that deserves praise. Because of the fact that anything that is good in Turkey does not remain without punishment, Osman Kavala is also going through this ordeal.
In the Osman Kavala incident, one of the most important reasons why Gülenists were obsessed with him, was because he tried, in one way or another, to pass on to Turkey the critical perspective that Dani Rodrik expressed from the US regarding the Sledgehammer case. Dani Rodrik is married to Pınar Doğan, the daughter of Çetin Doğan, the number one witness in the Sledgehammer case. And he is a world-famous economist from Turkey that brought to light some mind-blowing strange things regarding this case. I had a chance to meet him too; in the latest Prospect magazine, I have seen him among the first 100 in a survey of the world’s most creative and clever brains and this is a position he deserves. Since Dani Rodrik was someone he had known and trusted for a long time, Osman Kavala wanted to reflect these objections and criticisms to the press and public in Turkey. He did something risky during that time, because Gülenists had a hold on everything, they especially weren’t allowing passage within the media and for this reason – not only this of course – he entered the black list of the Gülenists.
Another reason is of course that Osman Kavala, as opposed to the Gülenists, wanted a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem and he contributed towards this. Another aspect is with regards to the activities of the Open Society Foundation. When we mention the activities of the Open Society Foundation, it’s interesting, one of the most important names from Open Society, Can Paker – a businessman – was someone that had a very close relationship with the religious organisation.
At the same time, he had good relations with the prime minister of the time, the current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Suddenly, in 2007-2008 – it should be during that time – the Open Society carried out some independent research: Prof. Binnaz Toprak was leading this, and there were three researchers – Nedim Şener, Tan Morgül and İrfan Bozan. These people researched “neighbourhood pressure” in Anatolia. Neighbourhood pressure, as you know, was a concept that Prof. Şerif Mardin spoke of during his interview with me and it’s a concept that has truly stirred up Turkey. During that time, due to the debate that the term “neighbourhood pressure” created, Open Society asked Binnaz Toprak to research “being different in Turkey” and the researchers under the supervision of Binnaz Toprak went to different places across Turkey and researched the existence of neighbourhood pressure and how it was experienced. Naturally of course – but they hadn’t calculated this – they were presented with a concept they had not thought about but saw in the field, and thus they created a separate section for it.
And that was the neighbourhood pressure that the Gülenists carried out in Anatolia; and they spoke of this at every opportunity, in the preface, press releases, television programmes. They were in shock because everywhere they went, the thing that was most spoken about was how the Gülenists managed to pressurise people in this way and that. I remember very well, a meeting where this research was to be announced had taken place, and I had gone as a journalist. There, the Gülenists, certain foundation managers – from the Journalists and Writers Foundation etc. – had come and said “What you are saying may be right, but the section about us here is very prejudiced” etc. regarding the research and they caused a ruckus. In an interesting manner, one of the people who caused a ruckus was Can Paker, despite the fact that he was a manager for the Open Society.
Can Paker, along with the Gülenists, tried to deem the report showing the realities of Gülenism in Anatolia in an open and clear way, that his own institution had prepared, as prejudiced and anti-religious. He gave interviews to the Gülenists’ media organs etc… The Gülenists therefore have been clearly irritated with the Open Society Foundation from this incident on. Especially during the period of research, the foundation manager Hakan Altınay – and I know this very well because Hakan is a very close friend of mine – during that time, not only with regards to neighbourhood pressure; at the same time, with his critical views regarding the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer cases etc. that the Gülenists put together, and his critical views of the Gülenist hegemony in the media – placed him of course in the black lists of the Gülenists.
A strange sort of alliance was formed during that time and the government was watching this from afar, but even though their choice was not 100 percent, they took the Gülenists’ side – they were at least an alliance. Now years later, we see, an accusation appears and during that time and until very recently, Can Paker who did not allow anyone to speak ill of the Gülenists, again with Fatih Vural who had worked for years in Gülenist publishing organs, put forward a book where Vural speaks of his memories: There’s No Looking Back(Geriye Bakmak Yok). This book is now being used as a sort of evidence against Hakan Altınay and Osman Kavala within the Gezi Accusation.
It’s a very strange situation, because somewhere in the book – Hakan, relayed this during his defence- for example in the 35th section of the book, Can Paker talks about the three days he spent in Pennsylvania – it is probably clear what we mean when we talk about Pennsylvania. Paker, in this section talks about Fethullah Gülen as a “true leader, beyond a leader” and continues on to say: “I believe that the Gülen movement is a political power. May God provide it a long life. I believe the movement will continue after Fethullah Hodja.” We experienced the third-year anniversary of July 15 three days ago, we understood it and there is a political power that is claiming that it has devoted its entire ideology and strategy to fight against FETÖ. The most important organ of the ruling powers is the judiciary and we see that the judiciary is using certain materials that the Gülenists, Gülenist-lovers and allies to judge some people – this is the weird situation we are facing. There are a ton of other examples like this, using the materials that Gülenists have prepared to judge certain civil society activists.
So why is this happening? The reason for this is because, within the perspective of Gülenists, the AKP ruling powers or Erdoğan there is no democracy, no strengthening of civil society, no development of fundamental rights and freedoms. Therefore, for them to feel disturbed by those people who are working within civil society towards pluralism is inevitable. No matter how much they are enemies to one another, they come together against people who are defending democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms and the state of law.  
This is exactly what the situation is, it is an incident that shows us clearly what is going on. On 12 September 1980 – it must be Agah Oktay Güner – in court, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Vice President said, “We are inside [in jail] but our thoughts are to come to power”, regarding the September 12 management. Now, a huge part of the Gülenists are in jail or abroad, they can’t enter the country, but our government seems to be insistent on carrying out certain reckonings that they began. But this is not something sustainable, especially after June 23, in the brand new Turkey, these are aspects that cannot be sustainable.
For example, today the supreme court of appeals prosecutor’s office wanted some of the decisions made during the Cumhuriyet case to change. He also requested a similar thing in the cases of Ahmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak and Mehmet Altan. And these may be signals that slowly Turkey is heading towards normalisation. Because there is no other option other than Turkey to normalise. Even if the ruling political powers want it or not, this needs to be accepted, and they must put up with Turkey returning to being run under a state of law, with pluralistic democracy and fundamental rights and freedoms.
In this respect, I believe that the results of the Gezi Case will be to the advantage of the defendants and I hope that Osman Kavala will finally be able to regain his freedom. This suffering is enough, it’s been enough for a while; it is not acceptable that he has stayed in prison for even one day. For him to be kept captive like this, is as if the civil society of Turkey is being kept captive. I think and hope that before long the Judiciary will wrong this right.
Yes, that is all I have to say. Have a good day.

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