Arrested police chief: Gov’t using police ops to cover up unlawful deeds

Anadolu Atayun

Anadolu Atayün, a former police chief and head of the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau who was arrested on Monday, said in a statement before his arrest that the government is using police operations to degrade those who are aware of its unlawful deeds in an attempt to cover up its crimes.

Atayün was among the five people who were arrested by the court on Monday as part of an investigation into the so-called “parallel structure” in which dozens of people were detained in Konya-based police raids conducted simultaneously in 19 provinces last week.

The “parallel structure” and “parallel state” are terms coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement following the eruption of a massive corruption scandal in December 2013 in which members of his government and businessmen close to him were implicated.

Erdoğan denied the claims of corruption and described the scandal as a plot against his government by foreign powers and the Gülen movement — also known as the Hizmet movement and inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. Erdoğan infamously promised to take every measure to eliminate the “parallel structure,” including launching a “witch-hunt.”

In his statement, Atayün said Turkey has turned into a “haven for crime” since the Dec. 17 and 25 investigation and bribery investigations that implicated four ex-ministers, then-Prime Minister Erdoğan and some of his family members in 2013.

Atayün said the government then introduced a new internal security law that is “extremely fascist and against human rights after they changed those laws with which we [police chiefs] were very successful in combating crime. At this current point, people no longer trust the police, the judiciary and the state itself. As part of a scrap paper signed during the so-called peace negotiations in Oslo, they [the government] have been arresting those police officers who conducted operations against the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and its financier drug lords. Judges who hand down verdicts similar to the period of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s fascist Italy and Stalin’s communist Russia have been arresting police officers, prosecutors and soldiers who caught red-handed those sending trucks full of weapons and explosives to terrorist organizations — a crime that should be considered within the scope of a crime against humanity.”

Four prosecutors, as well as many gendarmes, were arrested in connection with the search of what turned out to be weapon-filled trucks operated by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT). In January 2014, gendarmes stopped Syria-bound trucks in the southern provinces of Adana and Hatay after prosecutors received tips that the vehicles were illegally carrying arms to Syria. The weapons were allegedly intended for extremist groups in Syria, including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Qaeda affiliates.

Claiming that the government is trying to change the agenda to prevent its unlawful deeds from being made known to the public, Atayün also said: “They know better than anyone that we are patriotic police officers who have nothing to do with any crime. However, they are trying to degrade those who know they have robbed this country to the bone, have delivered our country to the PKK and have provided various material and spiritual aid to brutal terrorist organizations to prevent people from listening to them. They use us and the operations as a cover to conceal these unlawful deeds.”

Twenty suspects detained in the Konya-based investigation were released on Saturday, with an additional 11 released on Sunday after giving their testimonies. The 12 remaining detainees, including Atayün, were referred to the Konya Courthouse for questioning following medical screenings, after which they were referred to court for arrest.

The Konya 2nd Court of Peace ruled to arrest Atayün, police officers Yücel Ö. and Kerim D., businessman Naim Ç. and the former head of a prep school, Hasan Ç. The police are reportedly also trying to find 23 other people, including former police chief Salih Tuzcu as well as the president of the Active Businessmen’s and Industrialists’ Association.

The operation, which the detainees’ lawyers said was based on flimsy charges aimed at intimidating government critics, targeted businessmen perceived to be close to the Gülen movement as well as former Konya police chiefs, officers, lawyers and many others.

The detainees are also accused of membership in what the prosecutors call a “Fethullahist terrorist group” and of violating the confidentiality of the investigation and the privacy of private lives and communication, according to the governor’s office.

Similarly, Atayün’s brother, former İstanbul counterterrorism unit chief Yurt Atayün, has been under arrest since last July on the same charges as part of an earlier government-initiated operation against the police force.

Arrested police chief to reporter: Tell Erdoğan he is still a thief

When Atayün was brought to Konya State Hospital for a medical screening on Sunday, he told a reporter: “My greetings to everyone. Tell Yezid he is still a thief.”

A government whistleblower who tweets under the pseudonym Fuat Avni refers to Erdoğan as Yezid, which is a reference to the Umayyad caliph who is seen as responsible for the murder of his opponent, Imam Husain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. In addition to Fuat Avni, some others who are critical of Erdoğan’s deeds have also started to use the term while referring to Erdoğan.

Atayün’s lawyer Süleyman Küçüksucu told reporters the Turkish judiciary has bowed to the government for the last year-and-a-half, saying he is embarrassed to wear a lawyer’s robe in Turkey due to the recent unlawful detentions and arrests that are not based on any concrete evidence.

6 detained in new gov’t-orchestrated operation in Antalya

Six police officers, including police chiefs, were detained in Antalya on Monday as part of a new wave of government-orchestrated police operations against the so-called “parallel structure.”

The police simultaneously raided various addresses in Antalya, Batman, Burdur, İzmir, and Şanlıurfa.

According to media reports, detention orders were issued against 13 people in the Antalya-based investigation. Among those detained so far are police officers and police chiefs. Scores of police officers, including chiefs, have been detained since the corruption scandal erupted on Dec. 17, 2013.

Thousands of police officials and officers, as well as judges and prosecutors, were reassigned or removed in the aftermath of the Dec. 17, 2013 scandal. Many among them were later prosecuted and imprisoned pending trial on the charge of membership in a “parallel structure.”

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