Two weeks ago, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his chief of staff met with Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan and Gen. Yaşar Güler, Turkey's deputy joint chief. The country's leading security officials discussed plans to protect the tomb of Süleyman Shah, a Turkish enclave in Syria, against a possible attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Several days ago, the contents of the secret meeting were leaked to social media outlets.
Without a doubt, the illegal recording and distribution of such classified material about a key national security threat established that recent efforts to dictate government policy through illegal wiretaps will not stop short of such extremes. As such, there is no doubt that releasing such sensitive information represents a violation of not only the law but also ethics.
There seems to be little doubt as to who the perpetrators are, as all evidence implicates controversial imam Fethullah Gülen and his disciples who did not go to great lengths to conceal their ties to blackmail politicians with illegal wiretaps since Dec.17. For the past two weeks, a number of Gülenist media personalities prophesized that the Turkish government may launch an attack against Syrian targets prior to the elections. Simultaneously, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader warned the government at campaign events not to escalate tensions with the Syrian regime; only to insinuate that he knew about the sound recordings before they were leaked and celebrated the perpetrators as bureaucrats with a conscience.
Meanwhile, Gülenist media outlets helped spread the recordings while criticizing the administration based on the leaked information. To be sure, everything about the latest leak reminds observers of the Gülen network's past works: First, Gülenist media outlets bring up an issue out of the blue. Later, the main opposition party creates fertile ground for soonto- be-released illegal wiretaps. In light of the above, the Gülen network's repeated rejections of any involvement in the affair amount to hardly anything.
The Gülen Movement's attacks against the government since Dec. 17 raised serious questions about its credentials as merely a religious community and a civil organization. The latest scandal, however, openly jeopardized the movement's reputation as an advocate of the country's interests.
Furthermore, the Gülenists thus made it clear that they were willing to reduce themselves to nothing in the public eye for the sake of political power. They proved that national security comes second to hurting the administration.
Meanwhile, the Gülen Movement is hardly the sole perpetrator of this crime.
Various groups, including the CHP, adopted a notion of political debate and political opposition to shoulder the responsibility.
Similarly, all groups that contributed to the political arena's deprivation of all legitimacy are fundamentally responsible for the current situation. Over the past months, leftist intellectuals and the mainstream media determined the relevance of news stories based on their potential to hurt the administration as opposed to their legality and legitimacy.
Having cheered to leaked National Security Council documents, illegal en-masse wiretaps and unlawful raids against the National Intelligence Agency's humanitarian cargo trucks bound for Syria, many groups forgot to criticize the material on the basis of legality and legitimacy to effectively pave the way to the latest national security breach. Had politicians, media outlets and public opinion left aside their short-term interests to take a firm stand against the aforementioned developments, the latest scandal would clearly not have happened.
As such, the Gülen Movement clearly demonstrated that it is willing to commit treason in its campaign against the Turkish prime Minister by illegally recording and distributing the contents of a seniorlevel national security meeting. Furthermore, the situation at hand indicates that the opposition's complete disregard of legality and legitimacy has left the country on the verge of chaos.
In light of the above, public opinion and the courts will have no difficulty holding the Gülenists accountable for their actions.
The main problem for Turkey, however, is that political competition has long lost its moral compass as opposition to Mr. Erdoğan has become the sole guiding principle for many circles. As such, future efforts must concentrate on synchronizing the country's politics with the criteria of legality and legitimacy.