And the crackdown starts in earnest

Published 23.07.2014 00:18

For several months Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been accusing the followers of the Gülen Movement of a massive plot to overthrow the government and has been promising an all-out war against them.

The accusations had continued for quite some time with no action until this morning. But then the blow came. A massive security operation conducted in 22 provinces simultaneously netted dozens of policemen who are accused of being a part of the plot to defame the government and eventually overthrow it. The policemen are seen as the key to the eavesdropping operation that targeted politicians including the prime minister and President Abdullah Gül as well as an array of bureaucrats, journalists and businessmen close to the government.

Several of the tapes that contained these people's telephone conversations were leaked to the press and were clearly designed not only to embarrass the government but actually end its term in office by force. Some sections of the judiciary also cooperated with the police close to the Gülen Movement as part of the alleged plot. Since then, the police and members of the judiciary suspected of being involved in the plot have been assigned to passive duties, but no action has been taken. Now the hammer is down.

It is clear the government means business and we will see many more such operations probably against some members of the judiciary and others who are known to be close to the Gülen Movement. The prime minister says he regarded them as Islamic brothers and gave them all the facilities and they stabbed him in the back. It is clear the prime minister is in no mood for mercy and compassion, even in the religious climate of Ramadan.

What is interesting is that the Gülen Movement, in return, remains defiant and seems to be prepared for this challenge. People close to them including ranking police officers from intelligence are accused of obtaining illegal information, spying against the military and falsifying official documents. Of course the courts will decide, but it seems the evidence against them is rather solid and they are in deep trouble.

The prime minister and his colleagues are fully justified in feeling seriously betrayed and thus they demand justice. They are in no mood to forgive and we feel whoever is behind these wrongdoings should pay the price. Yet the whole issue should not turn into a witch hunt that will hurt the actual cause of the prime minister, who will soon become Turkey's all-powerful president. Not all members of the Gülen Movement should be seen and treated as criminals.

People at home and abroad should stop playing games with Turkey. They should understand that the time of coups, plots and sinister games are over.

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