30 November 2013 /TODAYSZAMAN.COM, İSTANBUL – Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gülen has described himself as “speechless” and expressed his disappointment about a National Security Council (MGK) decision in 2004 signed by the government and recommending an action plan against the Hizmet (Gülen) movement.
A secret national security document recently discovered by the Taraf daily has revealed that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government signed on to a planned crackdown on the Hizmet movement. Taraf published a document on Thursday prepared by the MGK on Aug. 25, 2004, persuading the government to implement a series of measures to curb the activities of the Gülen movement. It advises the government to adopt legal measures that would impose harsh penalties on Gülen-affiliated institutions. Gülen stated that if the government had not undertaken steps to close the prep schools (dershane), a move strongly decried by the Hizmet movement, he would have used the “benefit of the doubt” and considered the document as something “circumstantial.”
“What was required for the benefit of the doubt was this: We don’t know the conditions of the time. We weren’t related with the matter so that we can know its background and assess it with its philosophy. This is how I would have looked at it if it had not had a continuation,” Gülen said in statements released on his website herkul.org on Sunday.
“But after statements confirmed the document, not only I felt shattered, but I am left speechless,” he added.
The two-page document was signed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then-Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, then-President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Cabinet members, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Özkök, Land Forces Commander Aytaç Yalman, Naval Forces Commander Adm. Özden Örnek, Air Forces Commander Gen. İbrahim Fırtına and Gen. Şener Eruygur. The document, identified as MGK decision No. 481, asked the government to develop an action plan to pursue the MGK’s recommendations and instructed the Prime Ministry Monitoring Council (BTK) to coordinate the ministries and monitor whether the steps were being implemented.
The MGK decision urges the Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry and National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to closely monitor and report on the activities of the Gülen movement at home and abroad. It advises the government to instruct the Interior Ministry and Ministry of Education to investigate and monitor schools affiliated with the Gülen movement and report their activities to the BTK.
The document states that the government must ensure that the financial activity of Gülen-affiliated businesspeople be monitored thorough the Finance Ministry’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK). The MGK wanted the Ministry of Education to investigate Gülen schools as well.
It also asks then-Foreign Minister Gül to cancel his earlier instructions to Turkish missions abroad to help the network of National View (Millî Görüş) and Gülen schools. The document also comments on the psychological aspects of an operation against the Gülen movement, describing the use of defamation tactics.
The MGK is the top state body created by the 1960 military coup. It was seen as a shadow government while the military was in power. Furthermore, it ruled the country directly from 1980 to 1983 before transferring power to the civilian government. Yet the military became part of the executive branch through the MGK, joining the president and a committee of ministers. It became the final authority in decisions on a wide range of issues, including law, the economy, education, rights and freedoms. Though its decisions were expressed as advice on paper, they behaved as direct orders to the government.