A renowned Turkish police investigator, Hanefi Avci, is behind bars today, accused of having collaborated with a violent revolutionary organization. The charges make as much sense as Winston Churchill having been an undercover operative for Stalin.
To anyone but the most jaundiced observer, Avci’s real crime is obvious: he wrote a book in which he claimed that members of the Fethullah Gulen network within the police and the prosecutorial branch – followers of the U.S.-based Muslim spiritual leader –were using dirty tricks to frame and incarcerate perceived opponents.
Avci, a courageous and incorruptible police commander, can hardly be considered an ultra-secular, ultra-nationalist defender of the old guard. His worldviews are much closer to the Gulenists that he now accuses. That is what lent credibility to his charges and made his book such a bombshell. He now appears to have fallen victim to the kind of machinations that he exposed in his own book.
Ironically, Avci’s arrest comes on the same day that another story exposing the dirty tricks broke. This one concerns the famed Cage Plan, which is one of the alleged Ergenekon plots that the police and the prosecutors are supposed to have uncovered. The Cage Plan is an operation that is said to be hatched by members of the Ergenekon gang to harass and intimidate minorities. Police claim that it was discovered in encrypted form on a DVD found in a retired naval major’s office.
A forensic examination in the United States has revealed that the DVD in question does not contain any such plan. Wherever the plan may have originated from, the source wasn’t the retired officer who is currently in jail. Unbelievable as it sounds, the U.S. forensic expert – a founder of NYPD’s computer crimes investigation unit – says there is little doubt that the police and TUBITAK just made it up when they alleged that the DVD contained the plan. It looks like the Cage Plan was written by perpetrators with the express intent of framing a group of naval officers and their superiors. No surprise here if you have followed the Sledgehammer case.
Don’t expect the Turkish media to dwell on these remarkable developments at any length. Turkey’s nominally independent media is under tremendous pressure to toe the government line and not offend the Gulen movement. The Dogan media group, for example, is reeling under a huge tax fine imposed last year. The reporters and columnists who understand what is going are effectively silenced, while the government-friendly media (Zaman, Star, Sabah, and so on) spew endless disinformation.
It is very difficult not to get depressed about the state of the country. All the more so since much of the Western media (as well as Washington, DC and Brussels) appear to be clueless about these goings-on and what they reveal about the nature of the government in power.