Erdoğan propagandist monitored for links to IRGC Quds Force saved from legal troubles by gov’t

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Cem Küçük, a government propagandist with close ties to the Turkish interior and justice ministers, turned out to be under surveillance for his alleged links to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force.

According to Turkish government documents obtained by Nordic Monitor, Küçük was monitored by police intelligence for his alleged links to a Quds Force organization, Tevhid Selam in Turkish, a designated terrorist organization that was involved assassinations in the past.

The documents indicate that police intelligence started monitoring Küçük’s phone on September 27, 2012 after securing a judge’s approval for the wiretap.

Apparently, the police picked up information to warrant the surveillance of Küçük as part of an investigation to prevent possible terrorist attacks. It filed a motion with the court under the “preventive intelligence gathering” authority, which allows the Security General Directorate (Emniyet) intelligence service to try to learn about terrorist plots in advance and thwart criminal acts before they occur.

The surveillance record on Küçük was listed in an inspection report that reviewed warrants for both preventive intelligence gathering and prosecutorial criminal investigation, both of which require advance authorization from a judge. The inspection report, dated February 3, 2017, was sent to the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office by the intelligence unit. The document indicated that his phone was wiretapped starting on September 27, 2012.

Küçük appears to have been saved from possible criminal charges when the Quds Force investigation that was launched in 2011 by Turkish prosecutors was axed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2014, when the probe incriminated close aides of the Turkish president. The Erdoğan government filled key government positions with pro-Iran Islamists and managed to hush up the Quds Force probe before the prosecutor filed a counterterrorism indictment against dozens of Turkish and Iranian nationals.

Küçük has close ties to İrfan Fidan, a judge at the Constitutional Court who helped quash the Quds Force investigation in 2014 when he was a deputy prosecutor at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Fidan was hand-picked by the Turkish president as his point man in the prosecutor’s office, which has been pursuing abusive criminal probes against critics and opponents for years while hushing up investigations into radical Islamist groups as well as Erdoğan’s family members and his business and political associates.

Erdoğan propagandist monitored for links to IRGC Quds Force saved from legal troubles by gov’t 2
Irfan Fidan (L) meeting with visiting Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice President Maikel Moreno.

As chief prosecutor, Fidan conducted investigations that led to the mass arrest of tens of thousands of people who are alleged to have been linked to the Gülen movement, a group that is highly critical of the Erdoğan government on a range of issues from pervasive corruption to Turkey’s aiding and abetting of radical jihadist groups.

Prominent novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan and businessman and human rights defender Osman Kavala were among those who were prosecuted by Fidan on fabricated criminal charges.

Küçük, who works for Erdoğan propaganda media outlet TGRT, was alleged to have coordinated his media work with Fidan and other members of the judiciary in unlawfully seizing the assets of government critics. The government has confiscated the businesses, assets and wealth of critics valued at tens of billions of dollars since 2015, and Küçük and his associates were accused of taking cuts from the wealth redistribution as a result of plundering disguised as legal actions.

While he was championing the seizure of critical, independent and opposition media outlets, Küçük was also making a public case for the imprisonment of critical journalists in TV programs aired on pro-government networks, criticizing judgments for the acquittal and release of jailed journalists. In some cases, the campaigns run by Küçük led to the imprisonment of journalists after they were released, or government caretakers taking over companies whose ownership had previously been restored to their original owners.

The man who provided Küçük a media platform for attacking journalists, government critics and opponents is Ahmet Mücahit Ören, a businessman and swindler who defrauded many in Turkey but was saved from legal troubles by Erdoğan. Ören owns TGRT Haber TV A.Ş. , a news network that promotes the Erdoğan government, as well as İhlas Yayın Holding A.Ş. which used to publish the Türkiye daily.

It is clear that Küçük has some powerful friends in high places and can pull strings to make sure government opponents are subjected to abusive criminal procedures on bogus charges and dubious evidence. In fact having powerful friends came in handy for Küçük when his secret ties to Turkish religious cult leader Adnan Oktar, who was convicted on multiple charges including fraud, assault and sexual abuse of a minor, were exposed.

Although the police found documents connecting Küçük to the sex cult during the execution of a search warrant on the cult’s premises, those documents were somehow left out of the case file. A Turkish daily recently published some of those documents, which showed that Küçük was advising the group, telling them to arm themselves militia style in urban centers. The documents, which were in the form of internal notes for the cult, indicated that Küçük worked as an advisor to them.

Prosecutor Fidan, who led the investigation into Oktar, rushed to Küçük’s aid and saved him from being entangled in the probe and ignored documents that showed connections to Küçük.

Küçük’s name also came up recently in connection with shady business and political deals struck at the five-star luxury resort and hotel complex that used to be known as Paramount in Turkey’s tourist destination of Bodrum. The resort had allegedly functioned as a money laundering venue for the mafia under the ownership of Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, a racketeer who is wanted in the US on charges of money laundering in the millions of dollars and wire fraud and was recently arrested in Austria on an outstanding US warrant.

Erdoğan propagandist monitored for links to IRGC Quds Force saved from legal troubles by gov’t 3
Cem Küçük was a guest at a luxury resort that was alleged to have been used as a venue for money laundering for the mafia.

The same scheme is believed to be still in play under the new owner, Şaban Kayıkçı, also very close to President Erdoğan, who manages the resort under the brand name of Be Premium Bodrum.

The propagandist Küçük was hosted in the hotel with all expenses paid along with senior judges, prosecutors, shady businesspeople and senior government officials from the Turkish president’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Turkish mobster Sedat Peker, a former partner-in-crime of President Erdoğan, claimed that Küçük was a “hired pen” and writes articles to blackmail others. Peker said he would soon reveal more about Küçük’s illegal schemes.

By: Abdullah Bozkurt

Source: Nordic Monitor

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