Vedat Yenerer, a racist thug who is the chief advisor to Turkey’s nationalist, right-wing opposition İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener, is one of the leading figures in an anti-immigrant and xenophobic campaign in Turkey and in the Turkish diaspora abroad.
He is a founding member of the İYİ Party and now counsels the chairwoman on the party’s relations with the Turkic world. Closely linked to the nefarious neo-nationalist (Ulusalcı) network led by Dogu Perinçek, Yenerer represents one of the worst faces of nationalism in Turkey, one that is extremely hostile to vulnerable groups including minorities, Kurds and the Gülen movement.
His track record tells the tale. He was arrested on February 26, 2008 as part of an investigation into a shadowy group that was responsible for murders, plots and clandestine operations in Turkey. He was released pending trial on January 24, 2009. The evidence obtained by the prosecutors showed him interacting with retired Gen. Veli Küçük, a notorious figure responsible for numerous murders including extrajudicial killings of Kurds in Turkey’s Southeast.
Nordic Monitor has obtained secret wiretap records of Yenerer’s conversations that reveal shocking details about the abhorrent character of this man and how he was collecting sex tapes to allegedly blackmail others.
The court-authorized wiretap dated January 22, 2008 at 14:07 hours reveals him bashing murdered Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, calling him a scumbag after his murder prompted major protests for which he expressed his extreme dislike. In the conversation held with Özcan Pehlivanoğlu, the founder of the nationalist Rumelia-Balkan Federation, Yenerer said Dink was killed for the sake of the Turkish motherland and complained about what he claimed was a lack of attention to the fallen soldiers in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
In another wiretap dated January 22, 2008, he tells retired Brig. Gen. Nejat Eslan about how he obtained a sex tape of journalists Taki Doğan, the then-Ankara bureau chief of the HaberTürk media outlet, and Gülin Yıldırımkaya, who was a news presenter for the same outlet at the time. He provides details from the video in the conversation with Eslan, who in turn asked him to share the video with him. But Yenerer said the recording was not stored on a CD but rather on an H8 tape and that he could let him watch it on a video recorder if he wanted. Asked about this conversation during the court proceedings, Yenerer said, “That tape was in my hands coincidentally.” The prosecutors believed Yenerer and his associates were collecting such dirt to blackmail people.
The “Policies” chapter of a secret document titled “Ergenekon” that was seized by prosecutors during an investigation into the clandestine group revealed that political figures who were found to share the same ideals as the group must be supported and their election to parliament ensured in order to remove the need for assassination operations. Prosecutors argued during the trial that Yenerer was tasked with shaping the leadership structure of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the second opposition party in parliament. The group was seeking to oust MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli from the chairmanship and replace him with the more racist and fascist Ümit Özdağ.
For that purpose, Yenerer ran a smear campaign to discredit potential challengers for the MHP leadership and made up false stories to undermine the campaigns of candidates such as Koray Aydın and others using his network of journalists.
Yenerer was convicted of membership in a terrorist group in August 2013 and sentenced to more than seven years in prison. He was acquitted on charges that he had violated firearms regulations by importing an antique rifle from Iraq. The case was overturned when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan cut a deal with the neo-nationalist group and intervened in legal matters in the aftermath of December 2013 corruption investigations that incriminated Erdoğan, his family members and his business and political associates. As a result, Erdoğan survived serious graft probes and managed to stay in power, while the neo-nationalists including those who were involved in extrajudicial murders in Turkey were given a “get-out-of-jail-free” card.
The nine pages of secret wiretaps are posted below (Use arrow keys to move pages):