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Dink assassination and disinformation campaign for what ?

Friday 23 February 2007, by Emre Uslu, Onder Aytaç

Source : TNA, 09-02-2007

Finally, the Turkish media recognized the disinformation efforts of some media outlets. We only could say to them: Welcome, and what took you so long? As regular readers of this column may remember, we brought this issue to our readers’ attention as early as last July. We refer you to our column of July 19 continue with our analysis of why the disinformation and manipulation campaign against the police still continues.

First, since the late ’90s, the Turkish National Police (TNP) has changed its traditional “state-centered view,” and initiated a more “community-oriented” approach to policing. As a result, the police adopted European standards in fighting against crime. Through these initiatives, the police has distanced itself from other security institutions. By adopting more democratic rules, not only did the police get closer to EU standards, but it also became the driving force for Turkey’s compliance with EU requirements on security-related issues. The police, as an organization, is almost unanimously in favor of the EU process, whereas other security institutions, with the exception of the National Intelligence Service (MIT), have major issues with the EU-induced reforms. They are having difficulties internalizing the EU standards, and want to see the police in their camp as well. This is the major conflict between the security agencies going on below the surface.

Second, the police, through its education initiatives, has increased its intellectual capacity to adapt to contemporary security policies and implement them successfully. This change was behind the successful operations of the TNP which have received growing international recognition. For this very reason, the TNP’s international connections have become more complex than ever. Therefore, the TNP, in the eyes of the politicians, has carved out a place for itself as one of the main security institutions that can be trusted. This is particularly so as far as the democratization of the country goes. The police is viewed as an institution that holds the balance of power in domestic politics.

Under these circumstances, other security institutions, which traditionally used to hold the most important positions in the Turkish state apparatus, have realized that they have to share power with the TNP. In addition, with the EU membership process, it appears that the TNP will be the rising star among other security institutions. For many of the security personnel, who hold key positions within these security institutions, abandoning their long-held position to the TNP is simply not acceptable. Hence, it is very normal for these circles to leak manipulative information to harm the TNP’s credibility.

We are not suggesting here that the TNP hasn’t made any mistakes during the latest scandal in the wake of the Hrant Dink assassination. What we are suggesting here is that the circles who nurse anti-TNP feelings have found a “golden opportunity” to undermine the TNP. Unfortunately, the police administrators were slow to realize the altered conditions, and they still act with their traditional hesitant, passive attitudes. Instead of defending their organization, they still try to be nice to those media members who oath to stab the TNP whenever they have an opportunity.

These are the underlying causes of the disinformation campaign which aims to undermine the TNP’s tireless efforts. Below are a few examples of why some circles are disturbed by the TNP’s activities and are intent on undermining it.

Semdinli and all what followed...

On Nov. 9, 2005, a bookstore was bombed. The perpetrators were caught by the people of Semdinli, a small town in the Hakkari province. Despite the attempts of some to cover up the incident, the perpetrators were revealed: They were active-duty soldiers. When parliamentarians asked his opinions, the former head of the TNP’s intelligence unit, Sabri Uzun, stated, “If there’s a thief in the house, you can’t prevent a burglary.” Later, he was fired. Right before Uzun was fired, the editor of a notorious newspaper launched a negative campaign against Uzun and the TNP’s intelligence unit.

Last February, the police arrested members of a gang, called the Sauna gang, after a large-scale operation, The police arrested gang members, including military special forces personnel who shared top secret government documents with gang members. Investigators also found that the special forces personnel trained gang members on how to design bombs. The media largely refrained from reporting on the operation when military men were arrested in the operations.

On May 17, a lawyer stormed the Council of State, killing a judge, and wounding five others. The perpetrator was arrested on the scene. Immediately after the attack, the media labeled the attack the work of the Islamic groups, which turned out to be incorrect. Later, the perpetrator’s interesting connections were revealed. For instance, a picture of the attacker with a retired general, Veli Kucuk, who earned his fame with his alleged mafia connections and deep state activities such as establishing illegal intelligence units of the gendarmerie (JITEM), was published in the media.

On June 1, the police raided a house in Etimesgut, Ankara which was used by some military personnel from special units of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) who were later arrested. Allegedly, those personnel were planning to assassinate the prime minister and his top aide Cuneyt Zapsu. Turkish dailies published some sketches seized by the police, which show the prime minister’s house. According to media stories, these sketches were an indicator of a plot against the prime minister and Zapsu. Despite the police’s achievements, the media tried to undermine the operation. One newspaper even went so far as to say that this entire operation was a plot organized by the police to denigrate the TSK’s credibility. When we wrote how the editor of Sabah manipulates basic facts, instead of answering our questions, the editor tried to undermine our claims by arguing about irrelevant issues.

When it comes to Jan. 19 Hrant Dink assassination, the “big brother,” the planner of the assassination, turned out to have been an informant for the police until last September. Because of his alleged connection with the local military intelligence, however, the police fired him and he started to work as an informant for military intelligence. So far officials have not denied this report.

It is up to you to find connections between these incidents and why the media, especially an embedded newspaper editor, continues its “disinformation” campaign after these incidents. In addition, one wonders where these newly popped up small mafia units’ connections run.

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