Following the publication of the leaked emails of Berat Albayrak, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Turkey’s minister of energy, by Wikileaks on Monday, some of the huge number of archived mails reveal the profiling of Gülen movement sympathizers by Albayrak’s friends.
A long email sent by firstname.lastname@example.org, without the inclusion of any real name, to Berat Albayrak and his brother Serhat Albayrak, the CEO of the Turkuaz Media Group, shows detailed profiling of people with alleged ties to the Gülen movement, particularly within the media.
The email was sent Jan. 29, 2014, when Albayrak held no official position, and accused many, especially within public broadcasting company TRT, of acting on behalf of the Gülen movement.
The anonymous emailer, who first classified members of the Gülen movement according to their alleged involvement with the movement, then argues that TRT’s dismissed director İbrahim Şahin’s daughter had a direct link to the movement.
The email not only claims that 120 out of 150 then-recently recruited people at TRT were Gülen movement “members” but also names specific people such as Cihangir Çetin, Beytullah Aslan and Ahmet Çavuğoğlu.
The “informant” who briefs the Albayrak brothers about the “infiltration” by the Gülen movement also alleges that European Union Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik’s advisor for media issues, Cihan Aydın, is a Gülen sympathizer while stating that he is successful at “disguising” himself. The informant also urges Albayrak to monitor the minister’s advisor closely as he was ironically in charge of a study group that was assigned to fight against the movement.
The Gülen movement has been directly accused by the government of plotting a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15. However, President Erdoğan had much earlier started a witch-hunt against the movement, particularly after corruption investigations of December 2013 as he had argued that it was an attempt of the movement to topple his government.
The informant’s language and call urging the dismissal of reporters including the Western bureau chiefs of TRT seem to be part of efforts to fill these positions with loyalists.
Albayrak’s informant also claimed that there were Gülen sympathizers within the pro-government think tank SETA.
The profiling email went as far as to claim that the Gülen movement also directs an extreme leftist movement chaired by Marxist Turkish-Jewish author Roni Margulies. The informant claims that the Revolutionary Leftist Workers’ Party (DSİP) run by Margulies is “directly linked to the top” in a veiled reference to Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen.