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Politics

Dark side of Erdogan’s victory night

During the night of July, the 15th, when Erdogan grabbed all the power into his hands in Turkey, the civilians who lost their lives were not killed by the soldiers, yet have been executed by the militia, as the new documents have emerged.

During the controversial July 15 coup attempt that took place in Turkey in 2016, 256 people lost their lives.

However, there is no investigation on exactly how these people were murdered. The soldiers and their lawyers allegedly claim that civilians were killed by unidentified people to incite the crowd against the Turkish Armed Forces.

The lawyers` effort revealed that a significant number of civilians were murdered by ammunition that did not belong to the Turkish Armed Forces` inventory. However, the courts ignored this truth.

Now new data has come up. It’s about civilians being shot in the back of the neck with a sniper shot from a distance.

Akıncı Air Base is the alleged headquarters of the July 15 coup attempt. Journalist Adem Yavuz Arslan highlighted the essential details about the report on the killings of civilians at the entrance of the Akıncı Base.

Arslan’s article is as follows:

Eight people were killed, eighty-seven people were injured at Akinci Base Compound.

According to the indictment and official narrative, civilians who were murdered in the guardhouse were killed by soldiers by raking with long-barreled weapons from close range.

The defendants argue that they did not shoot the civilians.

According to the autopsy reports, Ömer Takdemir, Samet Cantürk, Hasan Yılmaz, Emrah Sapa, Ali Anar succumbed to the bullets entering their nape while Yasin Yılmaz died due to the bullet entered into the right ear area.

Let’s picture the scene. The soldiers are standing in a single row in the guardhouse.

Civilians are face to face with the soldiers at the guardhouse gate. The distance is less than 5 meters only. There are even verbal disputes between the soldiers and the civilians.

How come these people, standing face to face, were shot in the back of the neck?

The first thing that comes to mind is the possibility that civilians started to flee during the turmoil and that the soldiers would aim to shoot on target. However, the bullet entry angles in the autopsy reports do not indicate random shots. In other words, there would be random bullet entries on the victims` bodies if the soldiers shot the civilians at close range, as the prosecutor had claimed in his indictment and obiter dictum. However, all but one of the victims was shot in the scruff and back of the head.

The defendants claim that they were shooting in the air, not targeting the civilians, but civilians were confronted with soldiers and killed by others to provoke the crowd. Eyewitnesses also confirmed that soldiers issued warnings telling the crowd to disband, firing in the air first, and at the feet later on, in compliance with due regulations.

The defendants in the trial even played the sniper sound that was recorded on the scene for the court to hear, but the court rejected the defendants’ demands for a thorough investigation of these recordings.

To sum up, it’s highly suspicious. If the victims had random bullet holes in their bodies, they might have been shot during the chaos. However, 6 out of 8 were shot around the neck and around.

While the court should carefully proceed with the allegations, it does the opposite.

Politics

Court rulings under Erdoğan’s control

Gezi unrest was the largest mass protest in Turkey’s recent history. Erdoğan labels these protests as a coup bid.

The Gezi case ended with a surprise verdict after a long process. Nevertheless, Erdoğan demonstrated that there is no place for surprises in the country he rules.

The court acquitted all the accused in its verdict on the trial of Gezi Park protests, including Turkish activist Osman Kavala, who has spent over two years in detention in the case.

Life of this verdict, that nourished hopes for the rule of law in Turkey did not last long as there was a new ordeal for the symbol of the crackdown.

But within hours, the Istanbul prosecutor’s office announced that it had ordered to keep Kavala in custody over an investigation into the coup attempt in 2016.

In his speech at the group meeting of his party, President Erdoğan once again described the Gezi Park protest days as a coup and made harsh remarks targeting the Gülen Movement and the Gezi protests.

“There are some people behind the scenes, like Soros, in some countries who are serious in means of revolt, and they had their foot in Turkey. With a maneuver, they tried to acquit him (Osman Kavala) yesterday. With Osman Kavala, others are also involved,” Erdogan said.

With his words, Erdogan made it clear that he was behind the instruction of the new detention order.

Erdogan claims that Osman Kavala was supported during Gezi protests by George Soros, the billionaire financier, whom Mr. Erdogan has previously referred to as “that Hungarian Jew.”

Immediately after President’s statement, the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) launched an investigation against the judges of the Istanbul 30th High Criminal Court, who issued the acquittal verdict in the Gezi case. This situation brings with it the risks of being expelled from the profession of judges or even being arrested.

After July 15, nearly 5000 judges and prosecutors were purged without any compensation. Almost 3000 judges and prosecutors were arrested.

 

Decisions Erdoğan dislikes gets modified

High profile cases are under Erdogan’s direct supervision, and decisions taken by judges have been changed many times on previous occasions.

One of the examples was the case of 16 jailed journalists. A couple of hours after the release of journos, working in newspapers affiliated with the Gülen Movement, were re-arrested in front of their families and relatives waiting at the prison door as a “coup” investigation was launched against them.

Prominent journalist and author Ahmet Altan also became Erdogan’s target a few days after his release and was re-arrested.

One of the most striking examples of the pressure Turkish judges encounter is Judge Bünyamin Karakas.

The arrest of Karakaş was recorded as the most striking example of the prompt punishment of judges who made decisions that are at odds with the Erdogan Regime. Karakaş was detained and arrested during the recess in a trial.

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Politics

Steps to change politics in Turkey

Abdullah Gül and Ali Babacan were two bigwigs of the AK Party who set out with Tayyip Erdoğan. They were in the first cabinet that Erdoğan established in 2002, as Foreign Minister and Minister of Economy, respectively.

These two figures were at the helm in the days when AKP’s star shone brightly in the fields of foreign policy and economy. They have been pushed aside by Erdogan over the years.

Now the Turkish economy is in quite a poor state. Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak is at the head of the economy in the country. Foreign policy was handed over to a nationalist name.

People pin their hopes on Ali Babacan’s name as he is young and has a demonstrated success. Babacan personally informed Erdogan that he would establish a new political party. Although he announced a few months ago, he did not found his party yet.

Abdullah Gül appeared on the field amidst speculations suggesting that Babacan will found his party in March.

Gül is an experienced figure who has served as foreign minister, prime minister, and president. He had been away from the media for a very long time. With his lengthy interview, he returned to the political scene and announced that he would fully endorse Ali Babacan’s new party.

Erdogan has been acting covertly for a while to discourage Gul and Babacan. In fact, Erdogan sent the Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar to Gul by a military helicopter and tried to convince him to abstain from running for president in 2018.

However, the currently deteriorating economy offers great opportunities to Babacan.

Sources close to Ali Babacan stated that the founding petition of the new party would be given at the beginning of March at the latest, and some names resigning from the AKP will join the new party.

On the other side, Ahmet Davutoğlu’s party is advancing. Davutoğlu was one of Erdogan’s closest names in the past.

Erdogan is concerned about a split in his votes because of the new parties that his old friends will establish. How Erdogan is going to take a step forward is eagerly awaited.

There are also those who say Erdogan will get tougher and arrest Babacan and Davutoğlu. Some say that they will try to normalize and strengthen their relations with the Western world.

Represented by Erdogan in his country, the idea of “Islamism” is experiencing a significant crisis in Turkey, while being criticized in the whole world.

Perhaps this was the most striking remark that Erdogan’s ex-friend Abdullah Gul said in his interview on his return to the political scene: “Islamism is over in the world.”

 

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Economy

Corruption redefined in Turkey – Donating to foundations of Erdogan’s children

The foundations managed by Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan’s children made a fortune that amounts to billions of USD in the last couple of years.

Turkey’s wealthiest businessmen are lining up to donate to TURKEN and ENSAR foundations, which are owned by the Erdoğan family.

Erdogan regime encountered two significant graft probes in 2013, on December 17 and 25. In a bid to dodge the charges against it, the Erdogan regime called the probes “a judicial coup,” expelled all the cops, judges and prosecutors who took part in the probes, having them arrested on terror charges later on.

Due to the example laid bare, currently, no prosecutor ever dares to launch a graft probe against Erdogan administration.

Even if there are no probes launched against corruption allegations, Turkey falls back in the corruption index every year.

The latest corruption scandal landed amid the rescue efforts for the victims of the quake that struck the eastern city of Elazığ recently, taking a toll of 42 deaths.

The Red Crescent of the country (Kızılay) started a fund-raising drive for the quake victims. However, there was already a big jump in the numbers Kızılay received in the last few years.

A few documents that leaked from the bureaucracy which is under immense pressure from the government illustrated that Kızılay served as a cover for the donations made to Erdoğan family’s foundations.

Business people who received tenders from the state had been making donations to Kızılay sealed with conditional protocols. Protocols stipulated that donations should be directed to ENSAR or TURKEN foundations.

This way, business people deduct the money from their bank accounts as deposits to Turkish Red Crescent, but in reality, they give the money to the Erdoğan family.

The first revealed case was about Torunlar Holding. The Başkentgaz company, owned by Torunlar Holding, which won the tender for natural gas distribution to the capital city of Ankara, had donated USD 8 million to Kızılay. There was a catch, though. There was a specification in terms of reference that stipulated the transfer of the donation to the ENSAR foundation exclusively.

ENSAR and TURKEN keep operating as Erdoğan’s long arm abroad. The operations of the Erdoğan regime to found schools and dorms in Africa, America, and Europe are carried out via these two foundations.

The bigger and more complicated case emerged in Istanbul. It was about 96,400 square meters of land located between the two older bridges of Bosphorus valued in billions of dollars.

The land belonged to the Silahtar Abdullah Ağa foundation, which existed since the days of the Ottoman Empire. The government seized the property of the foundation after the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey.

Authorities designated this 96,400 square meters land as an assembly area, for it would be a safe space in the case of an earthquake.

In order to build luxury residences on this valuable land, a protocol was signed with KIPTAŞ, the construction organization of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, on February 24, 2012.

KIPTAŞ, on the other hand, shook hands with Torunlar GYO as contractors, the construction company of the Torunlar Holding.

According to the contract, 54,28 percent of the residences to be built on the billions of dollars worth glebe land would belong to Torunlar, 45,72 would belong to KIPTAŞ. The Directorate General of Foundations received nothing as the landowner.

All this info was a secret for the year 2014 because the Erdogan regime had displaced hundreds of judges, prosecutors, and cops that year. The country was in utter silence.

This information comes into light only after years of research conducted.

The corruption aspect of the incident is not only limited to the granting of billions of dollars worth of land owned by the state to the pro-gov’t Torunlar Holding.

After the project had finished, Başkentgaz company granted 31 workplaces to the TURKEN foundation led by Tayyip Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan.

Torunlar GYO, which undertook the construction project, did not donate directly, not to attract unwanted attention. Başkentgaz bought these places and gave them to TURKEN. Torunlar built 2961 residences and workplaces on the land and constructed the largest media center of the country besides these residences.

The media center, with a 300 thousand indoor space, was given to the pro-Erdogan Sabah daily and ATV channel network owned by the brother of Erdoğan’s son-in-law.

A portion of the land was utilized for a campus of the Bezmi Alem University, which is controlled by President Erdoğan’s spouse Emine Erdoğan.

Donations cover bribery

Instead of the word “bribery,” the word “donation” is trending in Turkey these days. It is almost obligatory for businesses working with the government to donate money to foundations either close to the AK Party government or directly related to the Erdoğan family. These donations are exempt from tax for most of the cases.

The system explained above is not just for big government tenders or lands. The small towns have the same system as well. The local business people who are obliged to do business with the AK Party governed municipalities are compelled to donate to the foundations determined by the municipality. The amounts of these donations are usually fixated to the 20 percent of their estimated profits off the tender at hand.

By CEVHERİ GÜVEN

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