Indictment accepted on Gülen-linked espionage case
by Yusuf Ziya Durmuş
ISTANBULFeb 06, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Yusuf Ziya Durmuş
Feb 06, 2016 12:00 am
On Friday, a court in Istanbul accepted an indictment against Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, two defendants linked to the shady Gülen Movement and accused of terror charges in an espionage case. The court rejected a bail plea for the release of the two men, and scheduled the first trial in the case for March 25.
An indictment against Dündar and Gül, two high-level employees of the Cumhuriyet daily, was disclosed last month which accused the two defendants of espionage. The indictment brands the two men as "accomplices" of the Gülenist Terror Organization / Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY) and asks for life terms on charges of supporting terrorism.
Dündar is editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, and Gül served as the Ankara representative of Cumhuriyet, both were arrested last year after they published a controversial report on the Turkish intelligence agency. Dündar and Gül were responsible for publishing footage of an unlawful raid which targeted trucks belonging to Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in early January 2014. These trucks were stopped in Turkey's southern Adana province while they were carrying supplies intended for Turkmens of the Bayırbucak region in the province of Latakia in northern Syria, reported government officials. The raid against the trucks was carried out by officials allegedly linked with the Gülen Movement, with the purpose of undermining the reputation of the government.
The indictment says the two defendants are collaborators of FETÖ/PDY, and their purpose was "to create perception in Turkey and in the world that Turkey was helping a terrorist organization, to associate the government with terrorism."
It says the raid on the trucks was the work of suspects who were also members of the terrorist organization and was based on forged evidence and false tip-offs. "FETÖ / PDY sought to have Turkey and its government brought to the International Criminal Court as a country supporting terrorism. Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, the FETÖ members who ordered and carried out the raid, were aware that there was no evidence showing the trucks were carrying supplies to any terrorist organization," the indictment adds. Citing a broadcast and publication ban, the prosecutor said the two defendants continued publishing articles on the matter and "coincided them with the pre-election period."
Footage of the operation, which was later claimed to be the work of the FETÖ/PDY, had drawn the ire of the government. Both the military officials who launched the raid, and the prosecutors who ordered it, were arrested last year for violating national security.
The incident caused outrage in Turkey. after footage and photos showing MİT officials being handcuffed at gunpoint by troops surfaced. This prompted the government to reform its intelligence laws, in an effort to avoid such situations in the future.