Istanbul, May 7 () - The ongoing struggle against the “parallel structure” should be carried out in a “smart and conscientious” way within the rule of law, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said, amid fresh operations against a number of civil society organizations in the western province of Manisa.
“The struggle against this parallel structure should be conducted in a smart and conscientious way, within the boundaries of the law. It should be conducted in a way so that everybody is innocent until proven guilty” Arınç told private broadcaster NTV on May 6.
Arınç’s remarks came amid a fresh wave of police raids against a number of civil society organizations in his hometown, Manisa. He described the targets of the operations as “innocent organizations” established by local engineers, architects, teachers and others.
“Policemen search their offices. What are they looking for? These are innocent NGOs. Profiling their offices like a terrorist cell has major consequences for them. I heard that five associations were raided today” he said.
Such operations against innocent organizations could harm the ongoing fight against the “parallel structure,” he said, adding that as a deputy from Manisa he felt disturbed asking for votes from circles that have been under undue police scrutiny.
Referred to by the government as the “parallel structure” or “parallel state,” the Fethullah Gülen community was recently designated as an “illegal organization in legal appearance” and added to Turkey’s national security threat book.
The National Security Policy Document, known as the “Red Book,” is updated every five years. A general description on potential groups, communities or organizations that might attempt to seize the control of the state was recently put in the renewed text.
“No specific description of any organization, including the Fethullah Gülen community, or of measures to be taken, has been referred to ... It is also written with capital letters [in the document] that the struggle [against the Gülen movement] must be carried out within a legal framework” he said.
Gül-Davutoğlu row ‘over’
Meanwhile, Arınç also touched on the recent quarrel between former President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu over the latter’s meeting with Gülen in late 2013. While Davutoğlu said he held a meeting in Pennsylvania with Gülen with the knowledge of Gül, the former president said he learned of the meeting after it took place.
“I followed the issue through the press ... I have no information about the issue. That is to say, our prime minister is absolutely right. And our 11th president is also right” Arınç said.
Those who want to comment on the issue can always make one, he added, reiterating Gül’s words that “the issue was closed” and saying that “there is no need to dwell on it.”