Report: Pro-gov’t media fabricated Sumeyye assassination plot to counter graft probe articles

Pro-government media fabricated the story of a potential assassination threat towards President Recep Tayyip Erdoganand’s daughter, Sandumeyye, to counter the claims published in other newspapers pertaining to the graft probes that were made public in December 2013, according to an editor of the pro-government Star daily.
In February, pro-government dailies — Akiam, Star and Gandunei — owned by Ethem Sancak, a businessman with very close ties to Erdogan, ran stories on their front pages alleging that Islamic scholar Fethullah Gandulen ordered the murder of Sandumeyye Erdogan.
In his column on Tuesday, journalist Murat Seandckin said the dailies ran stories about a potential threat to Sandumeyyeand’s life to counter the news articles about two graft probes that went public on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013.
Seandckin was an editor at Star at the time that the stories were published but recently defected to Taraf daily.
The two graft probes that became public in December 2013 implicated the sons of four cabinet ministers in then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoganand’s government, as well as members of Erdoganand’s family. The charges ranged from engaging in acts of corruption and bribery to transferring gold to Iran in order to undermine a US-led sanction.
and”Now, when we look at the media landscape at the time: The Dec. 17 and 25 [graft probes] had taken place. Documents [pertaining to the graft probes] were being passed around. Headlines slamming Erdogan and his party were being published,and” writes Seandckin.
and”A frantic process began in the newsrooms of the three newspapers [Akiam, Star and Gandunei], as they tried to debunk the claims made about Erdogan in articles. But to no avail,and” Seandckin said. He added: and”Then they [Akiam, Star and Gandunei] changed strategy. Then the mentality of andlsquoif we cannot respond to their claims, then we will initiate the offensiveand’ set in.and”
According to these newspapers, an unknown source seized confidential correspondence between Umut Oran, a deputy from the main opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP), and Fuat Avni, a government whistleblower who has shared a great amount of information through his Twitter account, indicating that they were planning to assassinate Sandumeyye Erdogan.
The dailies also claimed that the plan to assassinate Sandumeyye was discovered through the exposure of private messages between whistleblower Avniand’s Twitter account — which these dailies claim is run by US-based journalist Emre Uslu — and lawmaker Oran.
Uslu denies that he is the owner of the Fuat Avni Twitter account.
In September, the prosecutors who filed indictments against the pro-government media outlets that published reports about an alleged assassination plot against Sandumeyye Erdogan were reassigned.
BakirkandOy prosecutors Handuseyin Parlakkiliandc and Mustafa GandOkay filed five indictments on charges of insult and slander against two pro-government newspapers, Akiam and Gandunei, for publishing fabricated Twitter conversations that allegedly indicated a plot to murder Sandumeyye Erdogan.