Early this week, Turkish judiciary kicked off an investigation into Koza İpek Holding. Within the scope of the investigation, prosecutors and police officers inform the organized crimes agency conducted searches at the addresses of six people, including Koza İpek Holding Chairman Akın İpek.
The prosecutor's office issued an announcement that the operation into this company, which is under suspicion of funding terrorism, was launched due to some doubtful and unaccredited cash flow that cannot be explained within the limits of the holding's commercial activities. In other words, this is a universally legitimate judicial process that could be opened into all commercial institutions operating in the markets of Turkey and the rest of the world if they happen to violate the rules in this respect.
The allegations are serious. It gets even more confusing when it is considered that İpek, whose acquisition of wealth in a very short span was a matter of debate for years, went to the U.K. just before the operation, according to sources. According to some allegations covered in press, some police officers affiliated with the Gülen Movement conveyed the news of upcoming operation to İpek. This allegation is believable in the light of the fact that the cash flow İpek is required to explain is linked to the Gülen Movement, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara.
While the judicial process is ongoing, the objects of the accusations started a manipulation campaign addressing the domestic and international public. Their main argument suggests that the operation targets media as İpek also has investments in media along with other sectors such as education, tourism and goldmining - the last causing a stir among environmentalist groups. The media outlets funded by İpek follow an editorial policy known for its rigid opposition to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
I asked prosecutor's office sources about the allegations made by media outlets affiliated with the Gülen Movement, which is allegedly linked to İpek and infiltrated judicial bodies. The sources said: "The operation has been launched into the affiliates of the holding. It does not cover newspapers or TV stations. However, some media companies are located in the building where the holding's companies are. If an operation had taken place into the media group, we would have searched their headquarters in Istanbul."
The searches, which were performed before the eyes of media minute-by-minute, also verify the prosecutor's allegations. No arrest or search warrant was issued for a journalist or a media manager as part of the operation.
Moreover, apart from İpek's residence, other searches were conducted at various addresses such as at the university belonging to İpek. In this case, since it cannot be claimed that the operation targets academic freedom, it is illogical to assert that the media is being targeted.
Evidently, the group's TV stations and newspapers are being tried to be used as a shield in order to stop the operation into the holding. With this move, it is an attempt to handle the operation solely in terms of press freedom, even though it is targeting the funding of terrorism, which has legitimacy in all institutionalized democracies.
This method has been in high demand in Turkey for a long while. The Gülen Movement and its proponents, who are aware of the U.S. and European public's sensitivity to the matter of press freedom, bring forward the media card at every judicial process. And unfortunately, they succeed most of the time.
However, it is known that the modern world has already reached a consensus on hindering financing terrorism and institutionalized democracies resort to harsh methods on the subject. It is not possible to understand why some circles regard a state's right to self-defense as a luxury for Turkey while it is recognized as a right when the U.S. and the EU countries are in question. Also, it is a known fact that the modern world frequently lobbies the state of Turkey to conform to the norms regarding the prevention of funding terrorism.
Some wonder whether the West will pass or fail this test. Will it achieve to get rid of the double standard between the terrorist organization in the east that does not yet threaten their borders, including individuals allegedly affiliated with it and the people they declare as an imminent danger? We will wait and see.