Opposition newspaper Sözcü’s Ankara bureau chief Saygı Öztürk has uncover the main actors in Turkey’s recent cleansing of dissenting voices from within state institutions, particularly of sympathizers of the Gülen Movement.
In his Sunday column, Öztürk said presidents of 5-to 6-person commissions set up within all state bodies call the shots on who would be removed from civil service over Gülen links.
The government accuses the movement of masterminding the Jul 15 coup attempt but, according to many analysts, fails to back up its claims with credible evidence. The movement, meanwhile, denies involvement, slamming any intervention into democratically-elected administrations. More than 100,000 civil servants have either been sacked or suspended from civil service since July 15.
“A commission of 5 to 6 people decides on suspensions. The commission consists of certain bureaucrats serving at the institution in question. They are either heads of inspection and counseling departments, personnel departments; or legal advisers, on most cases. Commissions at ministries features one or two deputy undersecretaries,” Öztürk said.
“The commission heads are picked from among those who were appointed during AKP government and whose political identity are in full compliance with that of the government.” As ‘reliability’ principle is of utmost importance, the government prefers to choose those who also ideologically fall into line with itself, he added.
It is quite out of question for members to add an annotation or to refuse to sign the final decision on suspensions, Öztürk said adding: “Annotations exist even on court decisions as people could differ in opinion. Decisions of the commission heads are decisive here.”
Information on suspected employees
“The intelligence regarding suspected civil servants come from either the National Intelligence Service (MİT) or intra-institution investigations. Those from the former are quite limited,” Öztürk said before adding that public workers politically close to commission heads provide information to the commission.
“They provide information to commission according to their impressions, hearsays, sympathy or hatred toward their colleagues.” the columnist maintained.
It is a common occurrence that some public workers report their colleagues whom they don’t like, to the commission as Gulenist, he added.
Ministers have voice in some cases
There is no vote on decisions, Öztürk wrote adding that the commission head have the last say even though members sometimes raise weak objections.
Members always sign the final decision in order to maintain their employment at the commissions, he stated.
“Commission members unquestionably obey when ministers ask them to add or leave someone out from final lists… Suspended civil servants are never told the underlying reasons for why they were sidelined,”Öztürk said.
The most common reason is membership to the movement, Öztürk underlined adding: “But this membership has no definition. It is also the most problematic and the most unlawful situation in this period. As the justification does not exist, the ruling cannot be confirmed fair or unfair.”
According to Öztürk, investigations about suspected people look into a period that goes back to as early as Dec. 17 and 25 when corruption investigations implicating top government officials were revealed.
Reports in Turkish media have earlier said that people who failed to break off with the institutions affiliated with the movement immediately after the corruption probes are considered as members of the terrorist organization in the eyes of government.
The government has since called the investigations as a coup attempt against it and pinned the blame on the movement.