Several top bureaucrats jump ship amid government profiling

A number of top-level bureaucrats have resigned or requested to leave their posts shortly after the new government came to office at the beginning of the month, signaling that ongoing profiling and a government witch hunt may have started to take their toll on the bureaucracy.

Public Order and Security Undersecretary (KDGM) Ulvi Saran announced via Twitter on Saturday that he had submitted his resignation, while İbrahim Şahin, general manager of the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), has also stated that he will leave his post.

“Şahin went on leave on Thursday. He took his belongings from his office as he left,” the Hürriyet daily’s web portal said on Monday.

According to the report, Şahin has been offered a governor’s post by the new government, and he may be appointed as governor of Samsun when the next reassignments of governors are made.

Şahin has previously served as a district governor, head of the Postal and Telecommunications General Directorate and undersecretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications.

According to the Hürriyet report, the first signal that Şahin would be removed came about six months ago, when the card granting him access to the Office of the Prime Ministry was cancelled. The daily also maintained that former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is now president, would not see Şahin when he requested an appointment.

TRT Deputy General Managers Şenol Göka and İbrahim Eren or TRT Managing Editor Nusihi Güngör may replace Şahin as head of the TRT, the report stated.

The KDGM, which had previously been subordinated to the Prime Ministry, was subordinated to the Ministry of Interior at the beginning of the month after Ahmet Davutoğlu began to form the new government.

The Taraf daily claimed on Monday that the KDGM’s Saran had submitted his resignation as he did not want to work under Interior Minister Efkan Ala. However, it is also claimed that Ala did not want to work with Saran as head of the KDGM.

Saran wrote in a Twitter message: “I have submitted a request to resign from the post of undersecretary for public order and security. During my term, we have had a heavy schedule, working on the settlement process and democratization with our colleagues at the KDGM. The KDGM will also continue within the Ministry of Interior with its task of coordination and strategy [building] in the areas of the settlement process and democratization.”

In early 2012, the previous Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government launched a settlement process to resolve the country’s decades-old terrorism problem and Kurdish issue through dialogue with the jailed leader of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Saran became KDGM undersecretary on Aug. 2, 2012, following Muammer Güler — who later resigned from the Cabinet due to allegations that his son had been involved in corruption, which emerged during investigations that became public in December of 2013 — and former ambassador Murat Özçelik, who left the public sector and has since become critical of the government.

In the past week, Ankara Governor Alaaddin Yüksel applied for retirement, while Denizli Governor Abdülkadir Demir has asked to be posted to a bureaucratic position in the capital.

Media reports claim that the government has drawn up an executive order to reassign nearly 15 governors posted elsewhere to the capital, which is usually an idle post for governors. The two governors’ decisions were made after they discovered that their names were among those to be removed. The governors apparently applied for retirement or asked to be posted to the capital to save their reputations.

Interior Minister Ala is said to have earlier demanded a detailed report about governors, deputy governors and district governors from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the Intelligence Department of the National Police Department. Undesirable bureaucrats were identified on the basis of these reports, after which the unwanted deputy governors and district governors were removed. Subsequently, a government decree for governors has reportedly been prepared.

Independent deputy İdris Bal stated on Monday that the Interior Ministry and governors have been involved in the illegal profiling of bureaucrats. “These profiling activities have been going on at full speed in the hands of the Interior Ministry and governors,” he told reporters in Parliament.

Ankara Governor Yüksel was appointed to his post on May 27, 2010. Yüksel, who would have to retire due to his age in about six months in any case, did not give any reasons for requesting retirement but simply thanked the people of Ankara. He has worked as a bureaucrat for 42 years.

Denizli Governor Demir refrained from explaining why he asked to be appointed to a position in Ankara and asked the press not to look for the motive behind his decision. Some civil society representatives in Denizli have declared their disappointment at Demir’s departure, as he was generally perceived to be a fair governor. Denizli Chamber of Commerce President Necdet Özer said the people of Denizli will never forget him, while Denizli Chamber of Industry President Müjdat Keçeci said the decision was a big loss for the province, describing him as an ideal governor.

AK Party Denizli deputy Bilal Uçar said he was shocked by Demir’s decision.

And there are rising doubts that resignations might reflect deep discontent about government policies, reports Today’s Zaman:

The moves are unusual because Demir has been considered a successful administrator of Denizli province, while Ankara is one of the most prestigious positions to serve as governor.

Gültekin Avcı, a columnist for the Bugün daily and a former prosecutor who is familiar with the workings of the Turkish bureaucracy, told Today’s Zaman on Sunday that although the underlying reason behind these decisions cannot be known for certain, they are definitely unusual. “It does not seem a normal move,” Avcı said about the case of the Ankara governor, since the capital — along with İstanbul and İzmir — are places that a governor would most want to serve.

According to Avcı, some bureaucrats, being unable to voice their disapproval of the government’s policies in recent months, might want to resign in order not to become involved in the unlawful practices within the state institutions. “They might be worried that one day they could be held accountable for their actions,” Avcı said in reference to the increasing concerns of unlawful behavior within the state, such as the recent purges and arrests of police officers.

Ankara Governor Yüksel was appointed to his post on May 27, 2010. He did not give a reason for asking for his retirement, but simply thanked the people of Ankara. He worked as a bureaucrat for 42 years.

Ulvi Saran served as KDGM undersecretary from Aug. 2, 2012, following in the position former Interior minister Muammer Güler — who resigned from the Cabinet due to his son’s implication in corruption during the investigations of December 2013 — and former ambassador Murat Özçelik, who left the public sector and has since become a critic of the government.

Denizli Governor Demir refrained from explaining the reason why he had asked to be appointed to a position in Ankara and asked the press not to look for motivations for his decision. Some civil society representatives in Denizli have declared their regret over Demir’s departure, since he was generally perceived as a fair governor. Denizli Chamber of Commerce President Necdet Özer said that the people of Denizli will never forget him, while Denizli Chamber of Industry President Müjdat Keçeci said that the decision was a big loss for the province, describing him as an ideal governor.

Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Bilal Uçar has said that he is shocked by the decision.

Reklamlar

About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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