National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) Director Hakan Fidan and some MIT members, were summoned to give statements on February 12, 2012 by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for the claim that “MIT was related with PKK/KCK). The investigation, commonly known as “MIT Crisis” was launched at a time when “negotiation process between the government and the PKK” was ongoing. After the intervention of the-then Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, Fidan and MIT members did not go to give statements. However, later on, the investigation was claimed to be the first plot of the “Gülenist Terrorist Organisation/Parallel State Structure” against the government. After the investigation legal arrangements were made to present the summoning of MIT director and MIT members for president’s approval.
Investigation regarding the summoning of Fidan and MIT members was launched after the attempted military coup on July 15, 2016. The investigation was carried out by the Terror Related Crimes Bureau of Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Within the scope of the investigation, arrest warrants were issued against 24 people, including prosecutors and police officers.
Radikal Daily and HaberTürk TV reporter Mustafa Gökkılıç was among people who had arrest warrants issued against them.
Gökkılıç was taken into custody on July 13, 2018 in Istanbul. On July 18, 2018, after spending 5 days at the police station, he was taken to the court. He was arrested for the accusations of “attempting to abolish the government of the Republic of Turkey or to prevent the government of the Republic of Turkey from fulfilling its duties” and “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” and taken to Silivri Prison.
The indictment against 34 suspects, 14 of whom were detained along with journalist Mustafa Gökkılıç, was completed and presented to the court on February 11, 2020.
32 people, including the-then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, along with 26 ministers of the cabinet, MIT Undersecretary/Director Hakan Fidan, were mentioned as the “victim”.
The indictment, widely covered the details of the investigation commonly known as “February 7th MIT Crisis”.
The indictment claimed “MIT crisis” to be “an attempt” .
The indictment chronologically listed the events from January 29, 2019 back to to the time of the crisis.
The indictment reminded the operation, made within the scope of the investigation launched on December 11, 2011 and publicly known as “KCK Press”. It was stated that within the scope of the operation “M.Ö., who was claimed to be the contact man of MIT, was arrested”. It was stated that M.Ö. while he was under custody “had said that he was a MIT member and did not want this subject to be revealed”. It was argued that “M.Ö.’s statement, later on, was leaked to the people who were claimed to be FETÖ/PDY members”.
The indictment then stated that on February 7, 2012, at 17:00, MIT Director Hakan Fidan and 4 MIT members were called and the prosecutor told them “I’m waiting for you at my office to give statement”.
It was stated that at the time, the-then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was to undergo a surgery, however he had delayed the surgery to “respond to the incident”.
It was claimed that by attempting to summon MIT members to give statements, “Fidan was aimed to be taken into custody, with his arrest, Erdogan and his government were planned to be overthrown with the perception that the arrest order was given by the Prime Minister”.
It was claimed that this attempt “was FETÖ/PDY armed terrorist organisation’s first plot to abolish the Republic of Turkey and its elected government”.
Accusations and assessments regarding journalist Gökkılıç started at the page 127 of the indictment. Assessments regarding Gökkılıç started with the statements of Agance France-Press (AFP) reporter M.Ö., who was taken into custody and then released within the scope of the “KCK press” investigation and was allegedly “a MIT member”.
M.Ö., in his statements claimed that “Gökkılıç had called him to say he had reached the statements he gave under custody and wanted to make news”. M.Ö. regarding the event said:
“He told me ‘I have your statements at the prosecutor’s office and the police station and I will make news of this’. I told him that what he was doing could not bear responsibility. I said don’t do this, lets talk and not do this. He responded and said, no we will go with the news, we already put it in the headlines, then I walked into commissioner Ayhan’s room. I told him ‘call the prosecutor, our statements are leaked’ and he called Mr. Prosecutor and told him all about this. When he told me you can’t talk about this, I explained everything to the prosecutor over the phone. And he told me, there is no way this will happen, if necessary I will sent that journalist in jail, what he is doing is a crime. I said, yes but he does not say so, and hung up. I immediately reported the situation to the Ankara MIT Undersecretariat. Because of that, publication of the news was held for that day.”
M.Ö., later in his statement, claimed that Mustafa Gökkılıç “had attempted to publish the statements by giving them to other press outlets”. He claimed that “the statements were published in Türkiye Daily on March 6, 2012, even though his name was not in the news, the article had revealed and targeted him”. He also claimed that “Another article was published at Sabah Daily on March 11, 2012, however it was tried to be hid since their identities were already leaked with the news published at Türkiye Daily”.
M.Ö. claimed that “Taraf Daily’s article on March 28, 2012 made through the statement reports was published with his identity and his photo therefore his actions carried on behalf of MIT and his secrets were revealed”.
The indictment claimed that Gökkılıç had “contacted other press outlets in order to publish the same news and attempted to convince M.Ö. to act accordingly”.
It was claimed that by doing so, Gökkılıç “had acted as an accomplice to the crime of attempted abolishment of Government of the Republic of Turkey or prevention of fulfilment of its duties through FETÖ/PDY’s plot against the current political government”.
The indictment accused Gökkılıç of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”, “attempting, by use of force and violence, to abolish the Turkish Grand National Assembly or to prevent, in part or in full, the fulfilment of the duties of the Turkish Grand National Assembly”, “securing information that, due to its nature, must be kept confidential for reasons relating to the security or domestic or foreign political interests of the State, for the purpose of political or military espionage”, “violating the confidentiality of an investigation” and “forgery of official documents”.
Therefore, in total, Gökkılıç was requested to be sentenced to one time aggravated life time and from 26 years 6 months to 46 years of imprisonment.
The indictment was approved by Istanbul 23rd Assize Court on March 10, 2020.
Trial of 34 people along with journalist Mustafa Gökkılıç, started with the first hearing held at Istanbul 23rd Assize Court, located inside Silivri Prison, between June 22 and July 3, 2020.
Journalist Gökkılıç was present at the first hearing. Ministry of Finance and Treasury’s attorney, who was representing the complainant National Intelligence Organisation, requested the hearing to be closed to the press. Some of the suspects accepted the requested whereas some objected. Detained journalist Mustafa Gökkılıç, turned to the line where the journalists were sitting and said “I am a journalist too but I want my colleagues to be removed from the courthouse. I do not thing that the journalists will be able to make news sturdily at this time. I request the case to be held behind closed doors”.
Prosecutor of the case, when his opinion was asked, requested the hearing to be held behind closed doors on the grounds that “it could lead to situations which would endanger public safety and national security”.
Court ruled to hold the hearing and any possible upcoming hearings, behind closed doors on the grounds that “it could lead to situations which would endanger public safety and national security”. Court also imposed a media ban for the rest of the judicial process. It was also ruled that any news made regarding the case would face an investigation.
There will no further be monitoring, filing and reporting for the rest of the case due to the media blackout.
All suspects, including Gökkılıç, were ruled to continue their detention. Second hearing of the case is set to September 15, 2020.
Press in Arrest is a database, monitoring, documentation and collective memory study of Press Research Association.
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