Monday, February 13, 2012

And the Battle Continues . . .

PHOTO from Radikal

There are two more developments to report in the recent MIT episode.

The first was a series of early morning raids of mostly labor unions accused of working with the KCK to foment protests on what will be tomorrow's anniversary of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan's capture. The raids occurred in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and throughout the southeast, and resulted in the detention of over 100 people.

The operations might have been ordered by Sadrettin Sarikaya, who was relieved of his duties in the MIT case, but whom some reporters report is still directing the KCK operations alongside also specially-authorized prosecutor Bilal Bayraktar.

The second involves a statement made by Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag in defense of Hakan Fidan. Defending Fidan and MIT-led operations, Bozdag said that the probe into MIT seriously compromises intelligence activities, and in doing, basically verified that the MIT had infiltrated the KCK. Concerns have been raised that the MIT probe endangers MIT agents who are currently working undercover and that these agents could be weeded out and then assassinated by the PKK.

Meanwhile, Istanbul Deputy Chief Prosecutor Fikret Secen said the MIT may have abused its power and helped the PKK carry out terrorist activities. Secen said that it was not beyond the judiciary's grasp to probe intelligence agents who might have been involved in such activities while at the same time being careful to say that the probe was not related to state policies and in no way involved the negotiations that took place in Oslo.

The parliamentary proposal aimed to protect Fidan was approved by the parliament's justice commission on Monday, and will now make its way to the full assembly for a vote. Commenting on the new law, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said it was unclear at this time if the final law would protect military officials as well, a claim being launched at the government by critics from both the Gulen movement and opposition parties. The fact that these two groups would be united on this front shows one just how much the political scene has changed. For an example of a Gulen-friendly argument against the new law, see Mumtazer Turkone's column in Today's Zaman.

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