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Usual Suspects Training for Turkish Opposition

Karatana comments on their shortcoming: “There are too many police operations, arrests, you know. So we don’t have enough lawyers to give the training. We are already too busy with running in between the courts for our defendants.”

Ece Temelkuran-

Usual Suspects” Training for Turkish Opposition
17.01.2012
“Democracy means if the doorbell rings in the early hours, it is likely to be the milkman.”
– Winston Churchill

ece“Are you pro-opposition? Then you are a suspect! Join our ‘Usual Suspects Training!'”
The above quote is not meant to be a joke. It is part of an actual advertisement for a particular type of training course in Turkey. The Progressive Lawyers Association, which has 11 branches in the country, recently began offering a course that trains people on how to behave if they are taken into custody. Pro-opposition supporters are taken into custody by the hundreds on a regular basis by security forces. Almost everyone, with the possible exception of government supporters, are getting ready to welcome police into their homes or offices but this time they will do so with some expertise. They just want to know how to act once the doorbell rings in the wee hours of the morning.

The last wave of police crackdowns came on February 13. The Confederation of Trade Unions of Public Employees (KESK) in Ankara and affiliated unions were busted in an operation targeting to the Union of Kurdish Communities (KCK). Many homes were raided in Istanbul, Muþ, Van, Diyarbakýr, Izmir, Batman, Adana, and Gaziantep. About 100 people were taken into custody. The operation mainly targeted the women executives of the unions. A declaration by KESK argued that the operation’s main purpose was to stop the demonstrations planned for March 8 in advance. Pro-opposition supporters were particularly shocked this time around because most of them thought the government would give them a break for a while. The government was quite busy with the power struggle within the administration prompting the “usual suspects” to think that the police and the intelligence agency would not have enough time or energy left to go after the opposition.

These two incidents are interpreted as signs that there is conflict between the Fetullah Gülen movements’ demands and government’s policies.The experts say that the Fetullah Gulen Movement, a supranational economical and religious network that carried AKP to government, is now demanding a larger political role. The recent police warrant for the head of the intelligence services, Hakan Fidan, has been interpreted as part of a war between the Fetullah Gülen movement and the prime minister’s own men in the government. Fidan has been carrying out negotiations with the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) as the Prime Minister’s special envoy but the police force that has been staffed by Fetullah Gülen movement is trying to include Fidan in the KCK case as a suspect.

The Prime Minister responded to this warrant with an urgent bid to change the Anti-Terror Law to protect Hakan Fidan. Meanwhile last week, two members of the Intelligence Service were arrested in Adana under suspicion of kidnapping Lieutenant Hussein Harmush of the Free Syrian Army. They are suspected of taking Harmush from a refugee camp in Turkey and handing him over to officials in Syria.

These two incidents are interpreted as signs that there is conflict between the Fetullah Gülen movements’ demands and government’s policies, not only in the domestic arena, but also in relation to foreign policy.

In the midst of this serious conflict, Turks and Kurds in the opposition thought that the waves of police operations would decrease. That did not happen. The government seemed to always have time to collect and jail the opposition. That is why “Usual Suspect Training” has become one of the most popular training courses in Turkey at the moment.

“The demand is enormous” says Lawyer Evrim Deniz Karatana, one of the trainers of Usual Suspect Program from Progressive Lawyers Association. Although it has only been two weeks since they started the course, she says that people from political parties, student associations, and workers’ unions are calling them to attend the course. So far, they have organized two seminars in Ankara, the capital and one in Istanbul.

Karatana says they have been getting calls from people from all over Turkey. According to her observations, one of the most frequently asked questions during the course is: “Can they take me into custody even if I didn’t do anything illegal?” Karatana says that she answers, “Yes.” She says they have a group of 12 lawyers, which make up 6 groups consisting of two lawyers each, yet they cannot meet the demand.

Karatana comments on their shortcoming: “There are too many police operations, arrests, you know. So we don’t have enough lawyers to give the training. We are already too busy with running in between the courts for our defendants.”

Turkish Twitter is full of court schedules. Everyday we have a case to follow. And now the joke is “They won’t leave enough people outside the prison to follow the cases of the people in court.” And some argue that maybe it is better to go and turn themselves in rather than waiting at home for the early hour doorbell. They say “At least we are well-trained now.”

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/usual-suspects-training-turkish-opposition

http://www.ecetemelkuran.com/en/category/articles/29179/usual-suspects-training-for-turkish-opposition

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