Significant constitutional amendments were made especially with regards to the judiciary with the constitutional referendum on 12 September 2010. Gulenists took advantage of these amendments and infiltrated senior positions of the judiciary, which provided them with a lot of confidence and power to conduct operations against critics. Former police chief Hanefi Avci’s book on Gulenists’ infiltration of state institutions and their involvement in various crimes was published in August 2010, and he got arrested a month later on 28 September 2010 for allegations of being a member of a Marxist-Leninist organization dubbed Revolutionary Headquarters and the Ergenekon organization, which were accused of aiming to topple the government.
Only six months after Avci’s arrest, in March 2011, journalist Nedim Sener was arrested in the Oda TV trial, launched as part of the alleged Ergenekon investigation into an attempted coup against the government. He was accused of being a member of the ultra-nationalist underground Ergenekon organization just like Avci. Sener wrote for Milliyet.
Sener’s latest book focused on alleged lies told by Turkey’s security agencies about the background of the assassination of prominent Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007. Sener accused members of the military, as well as many senior police officers who were Gulenist sympathizers, of being involved in Dink’s assassination.
Preceding the arrests, FETO-aligned prosecutor Zekeriya Oz, who was leading the Ergenekon investigation, interrogated Sener for five hours. Accompanied by another Gulenist prosecutor, Oz fled Turkey on 10 August 2015 after being accused of “attempting to remove the Turkish state” and remains a fugitive from law.
FETO-linked newspapers reported the arrests on their headlines and tried to justify the actions of prosecutor Zekeriya Oz. The headline of the daily Taraf on 7 March 2011 read: “Ergenekon Prosecutor Explains: They were not arrested for journalism. There is serious evidence.”
Oddly enough, an earlier issue of Zaman accused the journalists by asking “The documents at Oda TV reveal tactics to spread chaos. Is this journalism?” right after the arrests.