“IT’S NOT GUELEN ……. “ : KCK suspect Ersanlı says does not believe Hizmet behind coup, terrorism trials

7 January 2014 /TODAYSZAMAN.COM, İSTANBUL – Professor Büşra Ersanlı, one of the suspects facing terrorism charges in a trial of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), has said she does not believe claims raised by some officials linked to the government that the faith-based Hizmet movement led by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen is behind a number of major court trials that had gripped the country.

Speaking to the Hürriyet daily on Monday along with academic Ayşe Berktay, Ersanlı said she did not agree with the allegations that the movement might be behind the Ergenekon, Balyoz (Sledgehammer) and KCK trials.

The allegations surfaced after a large far-reaching corruption investigation into alleged bribery and rigging linked with public tenders began to proceed and included high-level members of the government. Some government officials have voiced the accusation that the movement was indeed the main force behind investigations into claims of a plot hatched by army officers to topple the civilian government in the first years of the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) term in power.The movement has strongly denied all such claims, deeming such efforts a conscious campaign to divert public attention away from the ongoing graft investigation which shook the government, leading to the resignations of three ministers and several other deputies from the ruling party.

Ersanlı was released on July 13, 2012, pending trial, along with 15 other suspects in the KCK case. Several defendants in the case asked the İstanbul 15th High Criminal Court for their release. They argued that a newly approved reform package, which modifies the Counterterrorism Law (TMK), allows them to spend the remainder of the trial outside of prison. The court accepted their request on July 13, ruling in favor of the release of the 16 suspects.

Ersanlı, along with publisher Ragıp Zarakolu, was arrested in November 2011 on terrorism charges as part of an investigation into the KCK, an umbrella group that allegedly encompasses the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and affiliated organizations. Zarakolu was released pending trial in April. Ersanlı, who was a member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP), faces up to 22 years, six months in jail on charges of leading a terrorist organization. In a recent interview, Ersanlı denied the charges and said all her activities were within the limits of freedom of expression and freedom of association. http://www.todayszaman.com/news-335928-kck-suspect-ersanli-says-does-not-believe-hizmet-behind-coup-terrorism-trials.html