ORHAN KEMAL – Why the case against these journalists is so suspicious

Why the case against these journalists is so suspiciousGovernmental circles and their supporters in the media say andldquojournalists are not immune from committing crimes.andrdquo There is no doubt about that.

Of course journalists may commit crimes.However, when journalists who are critical of the government in power begin to be arrested, there is always a suspicion that they may be targeted because of their stance against the government, not for any alleged crimes they committed.

When I was writing this piece, Ekrem DumanlI, editor-in-chief of the Zaman daily, and other journalists were waiting for the decision of a judge who will decide whether to send them to prison or set them free.In their cases, the suspicion of a political motivation and motive of revenge are very strong.

First of all, they are being arrested in an operation which has been promoted and propagated by President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan for a long time. There is not one single speech that ErdoIan makes in which he does no talk about the so-called andldquoparallel state,andrdquo which he uses to refer to the Gulen movement.

When we start to look at specific details of the andldquooperationandrdquo against DumanlI and the others we see extremely suspicious elements.It is alleged that in 2009 the police targeted TahIiyeciler, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group, after Fethullah Gulen spoke out against them the accusation is that when the police planted bombs in the homes of the members of the organization after this, DumanlI and others were preparing the ground for this operation by publishing pieces targeting the group.

We understand from the words of Bulent ArIn, the governmentand#39s spokesperson, that the police who conducted the operation against DumanlI called the members of the accused in the TahIiyeciler case to ask if they wish to complain against the andldquoparallel state.andrdquo As you see, there was no voluntary complaint about anyone.

After securing these complaints, they launched this operation.The questions that were put to DumanlI during his interrogation by the police department are leaking.

They asked if he knows Fethullah Gulen, if Fethullah Gulen has given him any task, if he knows what TahIiyeciler means, if Zamanand#39s editing policies are determined by Fethullah Gulen, and so on. I cannot see any specific accusation in any single question that has been put to DumanlI.

I should tell you that this government has been preparing for the last year for this so-called andldquoparallel structure operation.andrdquo All decisions in this operation were made by special judges and prosecutors who were appointed after recent changes in the specific laws concerning themThey now want us to believe that there is a genuine criminal investigation against DumanlI and the other journalists.

They now want us to believe that this prosecution is being handled by independent prosecutors and judges. They now want us to believe that this investigation has nothing to do with ErdoIanand#39s ambitions to silence, tame and make all the media outlets in Turkey obey himWell, they will now say that you should wait for the indictment to decide.

I do not agree with them at all. There are very strong suspicions about this investigation and it is the government who should immediately explain all evidence and accusations against these journalists.

Otherwise, there is a strong case showing that this prosecution is just a means to persecute journalists by a ruler who wants to silence all critical voices in this country.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman