Pro-gov’t columnist resigns in protest of newspaper’s deceit

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- A prominent columnist and supporter of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan’s government resigned from the AkIam daily after the newspaper ran an interview with a retired colonel who was tried as part of the historic Ergenekon trial in which dozens of generals were sentenced to life in prison.

Slamming the AkIam daily for courting retired Col. Ahmet Zeki uçok, a former judge and an alleged member of the Ergenekon organization — a clandestine network that was allegedly nested within state institutions — columnist Fikri Akyuz lamented how pro-government newspapers covered recent events amid intense political turmoil that prompted the government to step up its pressure on its opponents.

Akyuz, known for his unwavering support for ErdoIan, described the newspaper’s interview with the alleged Ergenekon member as outrageous and unacceptable, saying depicting the Alperen organization, a youth branch of the nationalist Grand Unity Party (BBP), as a terrorist cell based on the interview with uçok went beyond responsible journalism.

“I publicly expressed my opposition to any ‘parallel structure’ within the state. I also did not refrain from criticizing the Zaman and Bugun dailies for their coverage of the Feb. 7 [2012] investigation [against the intelligence organization chief]. But I can’t make any excuses for appealing for help from a man whom AkIam once described as a member of a terrorist organization. Calling the [nationalist youth organization and Alperen branch] Ötuken youth group a terrorist organization goes against my knowledge, conscience and understanding of the law,” Akyuz said, explaining his reason for leaving the newspaper.

AkIam daily seeks help from lie by PKK

Retired Air Forces Judicial Undersecretary Col. Ahmet Zeki uçok, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup case and the AkIam daily hoped to get help from a lie previously uttered by Murat KarayIlan, former head of the Executive Council of the Kurdistan Communities’ Union (KCK), to defame the Hizmet movement, inspired by the Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen.

In an interview KarayIlan gave back in 2011, he claimed that a new organization under the name of Ötuken may soon appear on the stage instead of the ‘green Ergenekon.’ In the interview, KarayIlan targeted the Hizmet movement which he described as the green Ergenekon within the state. As a color, green is related to Islam and refers in KarayIlan’s remarks to the religious character of the Hizmet movement.

KarayIlan had claimed in the interview that those civil servants who are affiliated with the Hizmet movement might be described as green Ergenekon. The same claim was expressed by uçok, in a headline story in the AkIam daily on Monday. It is noteworthy that uçok, who was revealed that he had links with the leader of the Workers’ Party (IP) DoIu Perinçek, one of the accused in the Ergenekon case, use the same discourse and the same claim as the PKK.

In none of the investigations and trials uçok went through, he had never before talked about the Ötuken secret organization. uçok, who is also sentenced to 9.5 years in prison for preparing health reports that would render candidate conscripts exempt from the draft, is in prison for various crimes such as blackmailing, fraud and attempt to carry out a coup. But in the interview he gave to the AkIam daily, uçok is presented as a hero.

Ergenekon is a terrorist organization which was accused of working to topple the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Many of its alleged members were convicted to various sentences last year, but most of those convicted were released based on another court decision in the past months.

The Kurdistan Communities’ Union (KCK) is an umbrella organization which also includes the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

(CihanToday’s Zaman) C