Gülenists accused of seizing warship projects with fabricated cases
by Fatih Şemsettin Işık
ANKARAJan 22, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Fatih Şemsettin Işık
Jan 22, 2015 12:00 am
While operations and investigations into alleged Gülenist infiltration in the judiciary and police continue, claims that members of the Gülen Movement were appointed to critical positions on several military projects has brought a new dimension to the issue.
Captain Özcan Erdemir who was given a five year sentence by alleged members of the Gülen Movement in the judiciary, had not surrendered himself to security officials and decided to hide himself claiming that he faced the injustice of movement-affiliated judges and prosecutors.
During the time he was on run the Constitutional Court ruled that he was not guilty. Erdemir further claimed that members of the Gülen Movement have taken control of the domestically produced National Ship Project (MİLGEM) of the Turkish Naval Forces. Erdemir said that within the Military Espionage Case, which Gülen Movement-linked prosecutors allegedly started, all officers in charge of MİLGEM projects were accused of various crimes, including spying activities. "With this spying case, MİLGEM projects of the Navy were seized by the Gülen Movement. Two warships were built within these projects. All officers in charge of these projects in Istanbul and İzmir were implicated in the espionage case. All projects were then confiscated. Where did they go? Maybe they are sold, we don't know," Erdemir claimed.
Akşam daily reported on Thursday that Erdemir also claimed that the movement could gain access to encrypted phones thanks to the Military Espionage Case. "Informatics and Information Security Research Center (BİLGEM) engineers in the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) were detained as part of this spying case. Then Gülenists infiltrated to deal with encrypted phones. [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan was wiretapped while he was prime minister in such way," he claimed.
Back in early 2011, the Istanbul 11th Heavy Penal Court accepted the prosecution of 56 members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on charges of military espionage and blackmailing.
The charges brought against them included illegal wiretapping, establishing a criminal organization and espionage. The prosecution alleged that the accused intended to share information with third parties in return for financial gain.
In August 2012, the court acquitted all suspects of the espionage charges.
However, it charged 46 of the suspects with "membership in an [illegal] organization," violation of the right to private life and obtaining classified information. It sentenced the 46 suspects to prison terms ranging from one year to 15-and-a-half years. However, on January 9, Turkey's top court ruled that the rights of all 46 people convicted in the controversial military espionage case and charged with membership in an illegal organization were violated.
Five former police chiefs that were part of the December 14 Tahşiye operation, including Ali Fuat Yılmazer and Yurt Atayün, who are allegedly affiliated with the Gülen Movement, were also detained on July 22 as part of a case involving political and military espionage and unlawful wiretapping.
MİLGEM aims to enhance the countries' littoral warfare capabilities and to meet the operational requirements of the Turkish Navy with an Anti-Submarine-Warfare (ASW) and Offshore Patrol Vessel Project by introducing a vessel in between a frigate and patrol boat. It is the first time in Turkey that the design, system integration and analysis work including the integration of the nationally developed combat management system (GENESİS) for a warship of this size has been conducted locally.
With the MİLGEM project, the Turkish Naval Forces Command intends to combine its unique naval ship design and construction capabilities with local know-how, experience and infrastructure scattered throughout the country.