Colonel admits Turkish army ran web-sites to discredit gov’t, Kurds and Armenians

Former Turkish Colonel Dursun Çiçek, who spent years in jail for allegedly masterminding a plan to defame the ruling party and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, admitted that the army had been running web-sites to defame and discredit the government as well as Kurds, Armenians and the Gülen movement, reports. 

The web-sites, which date back to early 2000s, were seen as part of an Internet campaign to discredit the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and Islamist politicians before it came to power. The military had intensified its campaign to defame the government led by late Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan and eventually forced him to resign in 1997.

Most of the 42 web-sites were shut down in 2007, but the investigation into these propaganda sites were launched in 2011, when at least 22 army personnel, including generals, were taken into custody. Ret. Col. Çiçek was among the chief suspects. He is now a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Çiçek told reporters on Tuesday that the propaganda websites document was “authentic” and that military intelligence chief İsmail Hakkı Pekin, who earlier accused Çiçek of masterminding the plot, approved the document.

The propaganda web-sites were mostly run by Çiçek since 2007 and the military allegedly spent a lot of time and effort to run them. Most of them included contents that are aimed at defaming the government, Gülen, Armenians and Kurds.