CHP deputy submits parliamentary question over police raids of daycare centers

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Eren Erdem has subMİTted a parliamentary question to be answered by Interior Minister Sebahattin Öztürk over recent police raids of daycare centers in Zonguldak.

On Aug. 7, police along with inspectors from several ministries and institutions conducted raids on some of Zonguldak’s private daycare centers, which were established by volunteers of the faith-based Hizmet movement, inspired by the teachings of the Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Lawyer Zeynep Öder Ergör said that the investigations in the daycare center started around 9:15 am, lasting for nearly twelve hours. “They [the police] started the investigation 30 or 40 minutes before I arrived to the institution [Gonca daycare center]. The investigation lasted for some time without any lawyers present. They left, being unable to find any element of crime,” Ergör added.

The police launched extensive investigations in the children’s wardrobe, toy boxes, play pool and finger paintings. The police also copied the hard drives of some computers that included cartoons of “Caillou” and “Pepee.”

Erdem indicated on Saturday that the counterterrorism unit that previously raided eight private schools and dershanes in Zonguldak and also carried out investigations in daycare centers in Zonguldak’s Ereğli district, where children between the ages of 3 and 5 are educated, by taking extensive security measures.

Erdem asked in his parliamentary question about the number of police raids carried out on daycare centers during the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) rule.

“How many police officers carried out the raids? Was the head of [the aforementioned] terrorist organization’s daycare center structure caught in these raids? Was any resistance from the children encountered [by the police force] during the raids?” the CHP deputy went on to ask, adding: “How many bombs and how much ammunition belonging to the terrorist organization were confiscated from the persons of the children? Which evidence was impounded as a result of the investigation? Are the claims in the press regarding bombs made from pasta and glue true?”

Erdem also asked, “Are there any documents — belonging to the daycare center lobby — found to reveal a coup plot or action plan targeting the [AK Party] government?”

Referring to the ages of the children, Erdem asked, “When the ages of the children in the daycare centers are considered, will there be any penal institutions opened for children between the ages of 3 and 5 that are members of a terrorist organization?”

CHP Deputy Chairman Veli Ağbaba criticized the police raids of daycare centers on Friday, saying that the judiciary and the police force carry out the orders of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “The National Intelligence Organization [MİT] was turned into the ‘Animosity Intelligence Organization’ [because of Erdoğan’s orders]. Unfortunately, instead of investigating murderers and suicide bombers behind the Suruç [massacre], MİT carries out profiling in different areas,” Ağbaba stated.

Many journalists and writers criticized the police raids on their Twitter accounts. Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı said, “Whose idea was it to raid daycare centers, while terrorists walk freely [in the country]?”

Emre Uslu, a columnist for the Taraf and Today’s Zaman dailies, used the hashtag #Haramsütiçmedim (I haven’t drunk haram [wrongfully gained] milk), a reference to the phrase “I haven’t taken a haram bite,” which some Twitter users changed their profile names to when over 100 high-ranking police officers were detained in a government-orchestrated operation on July 22, 2014.

Associate Professor Savaş Genç, a faculty member of the department of international relations at Fatih University, said: “There isn’t any other government in the history of humanity that carries out raids in daycare centers with armed police officers. You made history with your wretchedness.”

Journalist and writer Mustafa Akyol also posted on Twitter: “When revenge forms the basis [for decisions] instead of the law, a ‘witch hunt’ extends to a ‘daycare center hunt,’ it is extending to it [now].”

The raids are part of a nationwide crackdown on institutions and individuals sympathetic to the Hizmet movement. Erdoğan accused the movement of orchestrating a graft investigation against him and his inner circle. The movement denies the charges. Since the allegations surfaced nearly two years ago, the authorities have escalated raids, shutting down or defaming institutions or individuals close to the movement.

Source: Today’s Zaman