MİT admits to profiling, daily says

October 09, 2013, Wednesday/ 17:34:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has admitted to having profiled deputies from opposition parties and businesspeople close to opposition parties, the Taraf daily reported on Wednesday.

After the daily published reports in June that claimed MİT had illegally profiled people close to opposition parties, the intelligence organization filed a criminal complaint at the Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office against Mehmet Baransu, the Taraf reporter who had written the two accusatory stories about MİT.

MİT officials had formerly denied the allegations of profiling, but a document sent to the prosecutor's office by MİT's legal advisor Ümit Ulvi Canik confirms the existence of documents related to MİT profiling, the daily said. “There is no doubt that the secret documents and information that were published in detail by the aforementioned media outlet are within the duty and activities of the Undersecretariat of MİT and that they are documents and information that need to be kept secret due to the security of the state and to its domestic and international interests,” the MİT document sent to the prosecutor's office said, according to Taraf.

“MİT has admitted to the crime it committed. The act MİT is involved in represents a crime according to the Constitution and Articles 134, 135 and 136 of the Turkish Penal Code [TCK],” Baransu said in the testimony he bore to the prosecutor's office on Tuesday.

In a report that appeared in mid-June, Taraf accused the intelligence organization of profiling people -- including politicians from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and businesspeople close to the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) -- in order to inform the government about their political views, religious affiliations and other details about their private lives.

The documents the daily published revealed that CHP deputies -- including Deniz Baykal, a current deputy and a former leader of the CHP -- and mayors, as well as businesspeople close to the CHP and the MHP, are among the hundreds of people and companies that have been profiled by MİT. In the records kept by the intelligence agency, the business sector the companies belong to are noted and people -- including the sister of the CHP's Baykal as well as CHP Çorum deputy Tufan Köse -- are profiled with descriptions like “supporter of the CHP,” “leftist” or “Christian.”

According to the documents formerly published by the daily, one of the companies the intelligence agency profiled is a construction company, Seba Yol Yapı İnşaat, which was established in 2009 and is based in the city of Erzurum. There are evidently dozens of details about the company in the profile report, such as its shareholders and their ID numbers, information on the public tenders the company had previously won, the houses where shareholders stayed in when they came to Ankara and other companies owned by Selahattin Güler, one of the shareholders of the company.

The aim of the profile, according to the daily, was to prevent those being profiled from taking part in public tenders and from being employed in public service. The reason the company was kept from winning tenders is because it leased its previous office to the local MHP branch in Palandöken, near Erzurum. Although the company won two tenders in 2010 and 2011, it has failed to win any of the five tenders for which it submitted bids since the profiling took place.

The MİT documents and information the daily said it obtained from people working at the Prime Ministry noted that information pertaining to the security investigations -- specifically on people winning tenders and their ideologies -- is to be communicated verbally in an effort to avoid legal trouble. The verbal communications between MİT and the Prime Ministry are allegedly being conducted over a special telephone line. Sources in the Prime Ministry have reportedly confirmed to Taraf that this information is being made use of in both appointments to public posts and tenders.

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