Fuat Avni’s mass detention claims coming true would mean regime change in Turkey, says DumanlI

Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanli has said democracy will have given way to a dictatorship if the latest tweets of Fuat Avni come true, after the government whistleblower claimed on Monday that the mass detention of journalists and members of the judiciary would soon occur as part of the Justice and Development Partyand’s (AK Party) efforts to muzzle media outlets critical of the government.
According to the tweets of the government insider, who is known on Twitter by the pseudonym Fuat Avni, some 200 people will be detained in a major sweep that has been ordered by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is reportedly furious over the Cumhuriyet dailyand’s publication of photos of weapons being carried to radical groups in Syria by trucks run by Turkeyand’s intelligence organization. The politically motivated investigations included not only journalists but also the corporate entities of the Zaman, Samanyolu and Taraf media outlets.
Dumanli, in an interview with Samanyolu Haber TV on Monday, underlined that these allegations of the likely takeover of those media outlets by the government will not only represent a crackdown on media critical of the government but will make Turkey a Third World country similar to Bashar al-Assadand’s Baath regime. Dumanli said if the party orders the detention of people and takes over media outlets without proper court orders or any concrete evidence of crime, democracy in Turkey would have officially come to an end.
Dumanli is among several top journalists Fuat Avni has claimed the government is planning to detain. Fuat Avni claimed the following individuals will also be detained alongside him: Kerim Balci, the editor-in-chief of the bi-monthly news magazine Turkish Review Todayand’s Zaman Managing Editor Celil Saiir Bugandun TV Ankara representative Faruk Mercan the Bugandun dailyand’s Washington bureau chief Adem Yavuz Arslan the Bugandun dailyand’s veteran columnist Nazli Ilicak former Taraf daily Editor Yasemin andcongar former Taraf Editor-in-Chief Ahmet Altan Todayand’s Zaman columnist Emre Uslu and Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dandundar.
Erdogan is also reportedly concerned that after the elections, the ruling AK Party may not secure enough seats to establish a single-party government, and therefore fears that a witch-hunt he has been pursuing since corruption scandals in 2013 may be interrupted.
Since a major graft probe erupted on Dec. 17, 2013, implicating people from the inner circles of the AK Party and the then-Prime Minister Erdogan, they accuse sympathizers of the faith-based Gandulen movement, especially those in the state bureaucracy, of masterminding the probe to overthrow the AK Party government.
Recalling his release and the arrest of Samanyolu TV Network Chairman Hidayet Karaca in another government-orchestrated operation into media outlets, Dumanli reiterated that the present situation in Turkey cannot simply be explained as a battle between the AK Party and the Gandulen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement. and”The fact is that democracy in Turkey is in danger,and” Dumanli said.
Underlining the fact that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoiluand’s government, not Erdogan, would be responsible for the outcomes of such an operation, Dumanli said it would affect the votes of the ruling AK Party mere days before Sundayand’s parliamentary election. Referring to Fuat Avniand’s tweets, he said the detention orders come from an embattled Erdogan, whose anger may have been pricked by his huge concern over his possible trial in the International Criminal Court for sending arms to Syrian groups, which allegedly included al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Fuat Avni claimed that the prime minister, fearing a voter backlash, is opposed to any mass detentions taking place so soon before the elections. As such, Dumanli said Davutoilu and many other politicians in the AK Party have the presence of mind to calculate the domestic and international outcomes of such an operation.
Fuat Avni claimed that the military is also to be targeted in the sweep, alongside the journalists, police chiefs, members of the judiciary and forensic medicine doctors who were involved in landmark cases that exposed government wrongdoing.
Fuat Avni has a strong record of revealing many government-backed police operations to the public, and though delayed at times, all the claims have turned out to be true.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman