Prosecutor’s office fails to find evidence of alleged Sumeyye murder plot

According to a news report published in the Cumhuriyet daily on Sunday, the prosecutor’s office has formally declined to pursue the case and requested a change of venue for the investigation looking into assassination allegations covered in the pro-government Star, Gunes and Aksam dailies in February, sending the case file to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The Aksam and Gunes newspapers, both owned by businessman Ethem Sancak, who has close ties to President Erdogan, ran front-page stories in February based on alleged Twitter messages between Emre Uslu, a journalist they claimed was Twitter whistleblower Fuat Avni, and Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies Umut Oran and Akif Hamzacebi. The alleged messages between Oran and Uslu discussed an assassination plot targeting Sumeyye Erdogan that had been ordered by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, according to the two dailies.

Hamzacebi and Uslu supposedly also discussed a collaboration between the CHP and the “parallel structure” in the run-up to the June 7 parliamentary election, according to the alleged conversations.

The term “parallel structure” was invented and has been frequently used by President Erdogan to refer to an alleged network of those sympathetic to the Gulen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, inspired by Gulen, who work within the state bureaucracy, although he later expanded it to refer to the entire movement. Erdogan has accused the movement of a plot to overthrow his government, a claim the movement has repeatedly denied.

At a press conference in Parliament following the reports, Oran strongly criticized the pro-government media and denied the allegations. Subsequently, he asked Twitter to reveal the content of all his correspondence via the social media platform. The response from Twitter disproved the allegations. Twitter, in a written statement, noted that Umut Oran and Fuat Avni do not follow each other and that it was thus not possible for them to exchange direct messages over Twitter.