Turkey: 86 secular 'terrorists' charged

July 15, 2008, NY Times:

ISTANBUL — Eighty-six people, including writers, members of civil organizations and former military officers, were charged Monday with membership in an illegal ultranationalist organization and of plotting to overthrow the Turkish government.

... the suspects, 48 of them in police custody and the others free while awaiting trial, were charged with forming, managing and aiding the organization, which is accused of plotting a coup against the Islamic-rooted, governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

The 2,455-page indictment is widely perceived in Turkey as being part of a power struggle between the secular establishment, including parts of the military, and the democratically elected and religiously conservative government.

In another case currently before Turkey’s highest court, AKP and its leadership are charged with introducing religion into government and violating the secular principles on which the Turkish state was founded. Prosecutors seek to disband the party.

The possible coup emerged when a cache of weapons, explosives and illegal documents was found in the home of an ultranationalist retired military officer during a security operation 13 months ago.

Since then, several police investigations have provided information that the Ergenekon group — the name is a reference to a central Asian Turkic legend with strong nationalist overtones — had also been involved in an armed attack on a senior state court in 2006, as well as the 2007 bombing of Cumhuriyet, a left-wing newspaper in Istanbul. Both attacks were included in the charges announced Monday.

A security operation this month led to the arrests of other suspects, including two high-ranking retired generals. These suspects were not included in the indictment on Monday, but will be added in a separate filing, Mr. Engin said.

Military prosecutors have also begun an investigation into the charges against the two retired generals, Sener Eruygur and Hursit Tolon, a private news station, NTV, reported Monday. Military prosecutors demanded copies of evidence that security forces had collected from the former generals’ personal premises, NTV said.

The arrest of the two former generals has stirred controversy in a nation where the military has traditionally seen its role as protecting the secular state.

The military strongly denies any links with the Ergenekon network. It reasserts its loyalty to the secular Turkish Republic in occasional public statements.

Secularists remain suspicious of the governing party, which grew out of previous pro-Islamic parties. Some warn that the government’s policies will lead to Islamic-oriented conservatism.

Opposition parties have heavily criticized the government for appointing religious candidates to critical state positions during its almost seven years in power.

The coup investigation has coincided with the case against the ruling party at the Constitutional Court, where hearings have been held this month. The timing of the coup indictments, as well as the harshness with which some suspects were forced from their beds after midnight for interrogation, was seen by some Turks as an effort by pro-government prosecutors to intimidate secularists ...
Let's take a walk down MEMRI lane ...

June 27, 2008
More Audio Recordings Of Turkish Generals Published In The Internet
Recordings of the conversations and speeches of Turkish generals continue to be leaked periodically to Islamist and anti-military media and websites. On June 27, 2008 the radical Islamist Turkish daily Vakit reported that two new recordings of generals Kenan Kocak and Suha Tanyeri were published at metacafe.com disclosing the contents of Gen. Tanyeri's lecture about a “new counter-guerilla plan” and “dark warfare”.
June 28, 2008
“New Party” Registered With “Sun” For Its Symbol
Following signs AKP has been giving that they would erect a new party to replace the AKP in the event of closure by the Constitutional Court, competitors acted first and registered a new party. AKP’s current emblem is the “light bulb” and there were rumors that in case the party is closed down they would create a replacement party, possibly called “Yeni Parti” [the New Party], with the “sun” as its symbol. Recent AKP posters and billboards that are displayed all over the country, quote PM Erdogan’s words, “We witness thousands of times, the rise of the 'sun' after darkness” hinting on the symbol of a new party.

It is reported today that a center-right political party named “New Party” with the “sun” as its symbol has been registered yesterday by former MHP and ANAP politician and former minister Yasar Okuyan and 32 founding members. While it is believed that the move was made by competitors who wanted to prevent the AKP from using “the sun” as its new emblem, there are some speculations that the intention may have been to prepare the new home for members of the AKP.
July 1, 2008
Turkey Shaken With Arrests
Turkey woke up today to shocking arrests of two dozen prominent personalities known for their fierce opposition to AKP government. Among the detained are retired full generals and force commanders, ret. brigadier and major generals, an admiral, a colonel, a university professor, prominent journalists from Cumhuriyet and Tercuman dailies, Chairman of Ankara Chamber of Commerce, chairman of Ataturkist Thought Association and members of other NGOs. This is the first time in Turkish Republic’s history that top commanders are taken into custody of the police.

Police raided the homes of the detained at early morning hours and conducted search in their homes as well as in their work places, confiscating computers, documents and other belongings. Despite the fact that the court authorization for the detentions was obtained on June 29, police waited for two days to carry out the raids in four Turkish cities with 6000 officers, to coincide with the presentation of the verbal testimony of the Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya to the Constitutional Court in AKP’s closure case.

It is reported that the police is also looking for four other other personalities including the Honorary Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court Sabih Kanadoglu, and former AKP MP Turhan Comez that was expelled from AKP because of his opposition to party policies.

The official reason for the detentions is that those taken into custody had suspected links to an illegal, nationalist gang [Ergenekon] which is accused of paving the way to a military coup to topple AKP government. Over hundred people were taken into custody in the past year under the so-called “Ergenekon” investigation. Some prominent Turkish personalities are held in custody since last year without being indicted or having seen a judge.

While the government circles and the Islamist media attack the alleged gang and vow to crack it down, many Turks believe that AKP government uses “Ergenekon” in order to suppress, intimidate and eliminate its opponents.
July 2, 2008
Chief Prosecutor Accused AK Party For Trying To Establish Theocracy
Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor made his oral presentation on July 1 regarding the AKP closure case and claimed that the AKP was trying to establish an Islamic state. Chief Prosecutor Yalcınkaya said in his oral presentation that AKP’s goal was a system based on Shari’a law and that there was a clear and present danger in this respect.

In his one and a half hour presentation at the Constitutional Court, Yalcinkaya said that the Venice Criteria did not apply in this case and that the acquittal of Fethullah Gulen would not affect the outcome of this case, since this acquittal case did not change the fact that Gulen is an Islamist leader. Yalçınkaya also added that the annulment of the amendment about allowing the Islamic headscarf in the universities did not change the nature of the allegations, only strengthened them.

He also mentioned that the U.N. Security Council list of people who give financial support to terrorism included the Saudi businessman Yassin Al Qadı, who is associated with the PM and AKP circles.
July 2, 2008
Turkish Media Divided Over “Ergenekon” Detainments
Turkish columnists and commentators are divided over the detainment of two dozen people, including retired 4-star generals, journalists, business and civil society leaders over their alleged links with a gang that aims to topple the AKP government through a military coup.

The Islamist, leftist liberal, pro-AKP media organs hailed the operation calling it a step forward to enhance democracy, while the mainstream media commentators sounded their concerns that the Ergenekon investigation has turned into a “witch hunt”, being used by the AKP government to suppress its opponents.
July 2, 2008
Turkish Business Leader Slams Large Scale “Ergenekon” Detainments
Rifat Hisarciklioglu, Chairman of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) who is known to have close links with the AKP government and especially with the Turkish President Abdullah Gul, slammed the detainments carried out under the so-called “Ergenekon Operation” and said that it dealt a blow to "human dignity".

Retired commanders, journalists and opponent politicians are being accused of suspected links to an illegal “Ergenekon” gang [they define as a terrorist organization] which was alleged of paving the way to a military coup.

In his speech at an extraordinary meeting of Ankara Chamber of Commerce [ATO] Hisarciklioglu said "I condemn the detainment of Sinan Aygun, the chairman of ATO without any charges. If he was invited to the police station to give a statement, he would go to the station to give it".
July 2, 2008
Turkish Opposition Says “Ergenekon” Political Tool Of AKP Government; CHP Likens Detentions To Hitler and Stalin Era Operations
The new wave of detentions of retired high-ranking military officers and journalists known for their opposition to AKP government was condemned yesterday by all political parties other than the ruling AKP. Most opposition parties argued the government is heavily involved, even saying the AKP is directing the case to suppress political dissidents.

Main opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal likened the detentions to Hitler and Stalin era operations and said that Hitler too had been elected by over 47% of the voters. Baykal said that the “Ergenekon case” is nothing but PM Tayyip Erdogan’s “personal case”. Baykal reminded that PM Erdogan has announced after the detentions the imminent release of an indictment, acting like the spokesman of “Ergenekon” case. Baykal said, “I told you that the staffing of all state positions by AKP partisans is completed. Now they are taking over the judiciary and the police”.

DSP leader Sezer said that the AKP was building a “fear empire”.
July 3, 2008
Are Waves Of Detentions Of Prominent Soldiers, Politicans, Journalists AKP’s Method Of Intimidation?
Many columnists in the mainstream media think that the new detentions are AKP government’s “warning” to military and civil society leaders and journalists to be “careful” – or their turn will come too. Some columnists argue that this open ended investigation, that they define as a "witch hunt", will continue and will also threaten Gen Yasar Buyukanit, Chief of General Staff, once he retires in August.

While members of mainstream media expressed their outrage at the manner in which respectable people were taken into custody, especially at the handcuffing of a fellow journalist – the editor of Tercuman daily – there was not one word of criticism in AKP-media organs.
July 3, 2008
Lands Forces Commander, Prime Minister’s Office Denied Discussing Detention Of Ret. Generals
Turkish Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug, who is expected to become the new Chief of General Staff in August, denied allegations that PM Tayyip Erdogan and he talked about “Ergenekon” or the upcoming detention of certain retired generals during their meeting on June 24th.

Speaking to the press yesterday, Gen. Basbug said "This subject did not come up during our meeting. Turkey is going through difficult times. We all need to be responsible, careful and cautious”, urging the media to engage in responsible coverage. He called on everyone to share the desire for the unity of the armed forces. The Prime Minister’s Office made a similar statement that denied the rumors and speculations.
July 3-4, 2008
AKP's Coordinated Media: “July 7 Would Be The Day For Bloody Coup”
Fatih Altayli of Haberturk news portal pointed out to today’s identical headlines in AKP-press. He wrote that AKP formed a large group of partisan media that unconditionally and passionately supports the AKP government, and claimed that it is PM’s information office that must be directing these organs by providing the material to be published.

The pro-AKP media organs, Yeni Safak, Sabah, Star, Bugun all had the same headline today - as they did many times before, apparently based on leaked information from the government. They all had “July 7 Chaos Plan” on their front pages; they all alleged that the recently detained retired generals were organizing massive demonstrations to take place on July 6 to support the judiciary; during which time they would incite clashes between the police and the demonstrators; then they would carry out some assassinations; all in order to prepare the grounds for a military coup on July 7.

Cumhuriyet too pointed to the sameness of the news in pro-AKP dailies and wrote that these media organs were claiming to possess information that the two generals – now in custody – were making preparations for “a bloody July 7”.
July 3, 2008
Vakit: University Presidents Next
This time the radical Islamist Turkish daily Vakit targeted the secular university rectors [presidents] in today’s issue, with a front page headliner that read, “Pro-Coup Rectors In Panic”.

Vakit claimed that the secular university presidents were “shaking in their boots out of fear” that they would be the next to be investigated, allegedly for their links to the “Ergenekon terrorist organization”. Vakit claimed that 15 of these professors had had a meeting with the detained Gen. Sener Eruygur in 2003, when he was the commander of the gendarmerie.

For a long time the Islamist, pro-AKP media has been targeting certain names that were taken into police custody soon thereafter, raising suspicions that these media organs were being given information about the details of the investigation that by law should be conducted in secrecy.
July 7, 2008
Two Retired Turkish Generals Sent To Prison
10 out of the 21 people detained in early morning raids on July 1 were arrested and sent to prison, for suspicion of links to “Ergenekon” terrorist organization that allegedly made plans to overthrow the AKP government. Among the arrested are two four-star generals Sener Eruyugur and Hursit Tolon, and the chairman of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce Sinan Aygun who joined 58 other people who have been in prison for over one year without any charges or indictment against them.

Attorney for Gen. Eruygur said, “A commander who loyally served his country for many years has been formally arrested on false accusations. We do not accept any of the charges”. Gen. Tolon’s lawyer said that he would appeal to secure his client’s release and claimed that the General had not been judged fairly.

Zekeriya Oz, the prosecutor handling the Ergenekon investigation, demanded life imprisonment for retired generals Sener Eruygur and Hursit Tolon, claiming that the two have established and direct “the terrorist organization”.

Despite earlier reports that the 2500-pages-long indictment was ready to be published, the prosecutor of the case said on Friday that the indictment would further be delayed due to the new detainments, signaling the continuation of an open-ended uncertainty.
Arrested: Retired Gen. Şener Eruygur

Arrested: Retired Gen. Hurşit Tolon

Arrested: Sinan Aygun

July 7, 2008
Turkish Businessman Dies After Spending 13 Months In Prison Without Charges; His Widow Takes Case To European Court Of Human Rights
Businessman Kuddusi Okkir who was arrested last year under the “Ergenekon probe” was released on July 1, 2008 to die four days later. The widow of Okkir who was accused of being the "financier" of the "Ergenekon organization" said that her husband was taken from his home at 3:00 AM on June 20, 2007 as a healthy man and was given back to her when he was in a coma, about to die.

Speaking to the press Mrs. Okkir said that he had encountered lung cancer while in prison and did not receive timely treatment due to negligence. Mrs. Okkir said that it was ridiculous to claim that her husband was the “financier” of any organization when they had debts and they don’t even own a house. She said that all the appeals for his release were denied and he died without seeing the charges against him.

Due to financial difficulties Mrs. Okkir was not able to pay for her husband's funeral expenses which were met by the municipality thanks to the intervention of some journalists.

She intends to take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights [ECHR].
July 7, 2008
Former Turkish Chief Of General Staff: “No Plans For Coup During My Term, As Alleged”
The former Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok spoke to Hurriyet columnist Fatih Cekirge and denied the allegations that he had stopped some generals [including the newly imprisoned ones] that had plotted a military coup against the AKP government in 2004 [during his term].

Cekirge asked Gen. Ozkok if he had been aware of any coup attempts or plans made by some commanders. The retired top general said, “There is no such thing. I say clearly that if anything like this had happened, and if those generals had made such preparations while in active duty, the military prosecutors would definitely have intervened”. Cekirge wrote that according to Gen. Ozkok, there had been no attempts or planning by other generals against him, when he was serving.

Gen. Ozkok was clearly disturbed by the allegations and stated that the society as a whole is extremely confused and in distress. He said that the questions in everyone’s minds [about the Ergenekon operation] must be addressed and eased by a responsible official who must provide the necessary explanations as to what is happening in the country. He suggested that the President [Gul] assume this responsibility and said, “All must – and will - be figured out within the framework of democracy and the rule of law”.
July 8, 2008
“Ergenekon’s Neocon Plan: Bomb Attack In Taksim Square!”
The pro-AKP Turkish daily Bugun, known to be affiliated with the Islamist Fethullah Gulen Movement, claimed that “chaos plans” were found in the computers of the four-star generals arrested as “Ergenekon” suspects, which showed plots for a bomb attack in Istanbul’s largest square Taksim, and for the assassination of an important chief prosecutor that would trigger a military coup.

Bugun ties the “Ergenekon organization” with “American Neocons” and claims that the plans allegedly found in the confiscated computers were very similar to “Neocons’ horror scenarios for Turkey", which were discussed last year at the American Hudson Institute with the participation of a Turkish military representative.

Turkey’s pro-AKP media organs disseminate every day “news” and “details” about the “secret” investigation for which there is no indictment yet.
July 7, 2008
"Operations, Like Those In Hitler Era"
Legal professionals and law professors in Turkey are reacting to the manner in which the Ergenekon operation is being carried out. Professor Aydın Aybay criticized the raids carried out under the operation, saying, “These are the kind of operations seen in the Hitler and Stalin periods. Those responsible will pay for them one day.”

Referring to the fact that the indictment is said to be between 2,000 and 2,500 pages, Aybay said an indictment of 2,500 pages was unprecedented. He added, “An indictment only includes facts pertaining to the felony that is established through the investigation. A prosecutor that does such a thing is an inexperienced prosecutor. He does not know what being a prosecutor is.” Aybay also said that an indictment should not be kept waiting for 13 months in order to ensure justice. He said, “The fact that an indictment could not have been prepared in such a long time is not a good sign. This is a form of abusing rights.” He added that the raids carried out under the operation are also against the law.

Professor Burhan Senatalar, spokesperson for the December 10 Movement reminded that the closure case against the AKP and the Ergenekon probe coincided with one another. He said, “The AKP is trying to solidify its rule under the pretext of fighting for democracy”.
July 9, 2008
Six Killed In Terror Attack On U.S. Consulate In Istanbul
Three Turkish policemen and three gunmen were killed in the terrorist attack on the police guard at the main entrance of the well-fortified U.S. Consulate building in Istanbul. There is massive hunt for a fourth assailant believed to have fled the scene in the same vehicle that brought the terrorists there. Two wounded officers are being treated in the hospital.

According to unconfirmed media reports some of the attackers may have been in Afghanistan and one of them –identified as Erhan Kirgiz – had been accused of being a member of the Islamist terrorist organization IBDA-C that claimed responsibility in the November 2003 attacks in Istanbul on two synagogues, the British consulate and a British bank that killed over 60 people.

Ross Wilson, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey said in Ankara that the attack was "an obvious act of terrorism" aimed at the United States and added, “This was an attack on an American diplomatic establishment. The persons who lost their lives are Turkish citizens and we are very sad about that. Turkey and the U.S. are close friends and allies and such acts of terrorism cannot change that".
July 11, 2008
Possible Al-Qaida Links In U.S. Consulate Attack; Turkish Police Detained The Fourth Assailant
Turkish police detained six people yesterday, suspected to have links to the terrorists that attacked the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul killing three Turkish policemen. The Ford Fiesta car that brought the terrorists to the consulate was seized and the driver that fled the scene is now in custody.

Police suspects Al Qaeda was behind the attack as the gunmen had traveled to Afghanistan where it is believed they received training. Islamist and jihadist literature were found during searches conducted in the homes of the attackers. It is reported that the father of one of the killed terrorists is a convicted member of the Turkish Hizbullah terrorist organization.
July 11, 2008
Islamist Media: Attack On U.S. Consulate Work Of “Ergenekon”, Not Islamists
Turkey’s pro-AKP, Islamist media argues that the target of the attack was the police, and not the U.S.. Islamist media also claims that the attack “smelled” of Ergenekon, denying the mainstream media reports that Al-Qaida or other Islamist groups had committed the crime.

Today’s front-page headliner of the Turkish daily Sabah that after its controversial sale joined the AKP-media read, “It Smells Of Ergenekon”, basing its story on speculations of an unidentified source in AKP government’s ministry of justice.
July 10, 2008
Vakit: CIA, Mossad, British Secret Service Behind Attack On U.S. Consulate
The pro-AKP, radical Islamist Turkish daily Vakit claimed that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul was committed by foreign intelligence agencies, namely the CIA, Mossad and the British Secret Service and accused the mainstream media of attempting to lay the crime on Al-Qaeda or other Islamist groups. Vakit attacked the mainstream media for describing the terrorists as having beards.

The Islamist daily reported that Dr. Selcuk Ozdag of Mugla University told the newspaper that he believed foreign intelligence organizations were behind the attack to push the Turkish government to America’s lap. He said that these foreign agencies would attempt to lay the responsibility for the attack on Islamist groups or on Iran, to draw Turkey into the conflict with Iran and oblige it to act with the U.S. against its neighbor.
July 11, 2008
Founder of AKP, Former Deputy PM Resigned His Party
Former deputy PM Abdullatif Sener officially resigned from AKP today, during the party’s central executive board meeting. Sener, a former member of the banned Islamist Welfare Party [RP] of Necmettin Erbakan was one of the four founders of AKP along with PM Erdogan, President Gul, and former parliamentary speaker Bulent Arinc, all of whom belonged to the Islamist Milli Gorus movement.

Sener had decided not to run for parliament in July 22, 2007 general elections but remained a member of AKP’s executive board. Recently he talked about the need in Turkey for a new political formation and last week declared his intention to establish a new centrist party that would attract politicians from both the right and left of the political spectrum. His remarks signaling a new party drew harsh criticism from members of AKP who demanded his resignation.

After bidding farewell, Sener is expected to start his countrywide travels beginning with Konya, a stronghold of the Milli Gorus movement and of AKP. The first ad of his new political movement appeared today in a local newspaper in his hometown of Sivas. It said, “For honesty in politics, C'mon Turkey”.
July 11, 2008
Release Of “Ergenekon” Indictment Postponed Again; File To Be As Tall As 26-40 Storey Building
The long awaited indictment in “Ergenekon terror organization” probe has not been published today as promised, and is now expected to be released on Monday, July 14, 2008. The indictment that has not been written in over 13 months is said to contain 2500 pages and does not include results of the investigation of two dozen people detained on July 1, including two four-star generals, business leaders, and journalists. The prosecutor’s office said that there will be an additional indictment to be added later for the last group of detainees that according to experts may consist of about one thousand more pages.

Sinan Tumlukolcu from Gazi University said in a televised interview that this unheard of volume of papers of about 4 thousand pages together with about hundred times as many attachments and documents would reach about 400 thousand pages, which would fit into about 800 folders, which if piled on top of one another would be as tall as a 26-storey building. He said that when the case begins to be heard there would be many more documents presented and added to the file that might make it as high as 40-storey building.

Many Turkish analysts have criticized the declared volume of this case, saying that this long an indictment is unprecedented and besides putting an unmanageable burden on the court it would also jeopardize the chances of reaching a just resolution of this case. Some analysts have reminded that in Nuremberg case - which they described as “the mother of all cases” - the indictment against the high ranking Nazi criminals had been less than 70 pages long.
July 14, 2008
Long Awaited “Ergenekon” Indictment Filed; 86 Suspects Charged With Forming, Aiding A Terrorist Organization
At a press conference today, Istanbul’s Chief Prosecutor unveiled the outline of the 2455-pages-long indictment on the controversial “Ergenekon” probe charging 86 suspects of forming an anti-government terrorist organization; being member of a terrorist organization; helping a terrorist organization.

48 of the suspects that include retired army officers, leader of Workers’ Party [IP] as well as some business people are being held in jail, while the remaining 38 that include the prominent journalist Ilhan Selcuk of the anti-AKP Cumhuriyet and the former Istanbul University president Prof. Kemal Alemdaroglu had been released to be tried without detention.

The indictment that was filed today with the court does not include those that were detained on July 1. An additional indictment will be written for 21 people seven of whom are jailed, including the retired four-star generals Sener Eruygur and Hursit Tolon and will be attached to the original file.

Pro-AKP media organs for months have been disseminating news based on "secret" information allegedly seized during the operation, which were denied by Istanbul’s chief prosecutor who said today that these media reports create “information pollution”.
July 14, 2008
Military Prosecutor Requests Files Of Arrested Generals
Turkish TV channels reported that the chief military prosecutor of Turkey’s General Staff has requested copies of the documents relating directly to the two retired generals Sener Eruygur and Hursit Tolon, who were arrested in the Ergenekon investigation.

It was also reported that the civil prosecutors that are handling the “Ergenekon case” have been sharing information about the former military officers with the military prosecutors and that the military prosecutors are now preparing to charge two former officers in whose possession secret military documents were found.
July 14, 2008
Ankara Chamber of Commerce Chairman Released From Jail
Following the release of the “Ergenekon” indictment today, the Chairman of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce Sinan Aygun was released from prison to be tried without being detained.

Appeals made by attorneys of the two retired generals for their cleints’ release were denied.
July 15, 2008
Report On AKP’s Closure Case To Be Submitted To High Court Justices On Wednesday

The Constitutional Court rapporteur will submit his report regarding the closure case filed against Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the high court on Wednesday. The timing of the submission makes the decision process likely to be finalized by end of July or early August.

Turkey has been locked in a political turmoil as everybody waits for the court's ruling on the closure case according to which the Islamist-rooted AKP is accused of being "the focal point of anti-secular activities".
July 15, 2008
Chief Justice: AKP Ruling Will Not Cause “Doomsday”

Chief Justice Hasim Kilic said on Monday that Constitutional Court’s critical ruling on the closure case against AKP will not cause a “doomsday” in the country, adding that Turkey is a great country that is strong enough to handle and overcome this situation.

Kilic said, “Nobody should be concerned. Turkey’s institutions are working and fulfilling their duties”. He refrained from giving a specific date for the resolution of the case.
July 15, 2008
More Questions Being Asked After The First Official Statement On Ergenekon Probe
The long awaited indictment on Ergenekon probe has now been sent to an Istanbul court. The court has 15 days to decide on the basis of its merits whether or not it will accept the case. As the details of the case cannot be disclosed until the court accepts it, only basic information was provided by Istanbul’s chief prosecutor. Analysts commented that the case is like a big bag into which prosecutors are throwing any and all the crimes.

Prosecutors alleged that Ergenekon was a terrorist and a “600-year-old-sect-like organization” based on the mythical legend of Agharta [Ergenekon] of central-Asian Turks.

The indictment also alleges that this organization – and not the radical Islamist Alpaslan Arslan- was responsible for the three bomb attacks on the secular, anti-AKP Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, as well as for last year’s shooting at the high administrative court [Danistay] that killed a judge and wounded five others. This leads to the confusing conclusion that two of the most prominent Cumhuriyet journalists, Ilhan Selcuk and Mustafa Balbay that were detained during the investigation, will stand trial for being part of an organization that enthused the attacks on their own newspaper. Inclusion of Danistay attack in the Ergenekon case also creates a legal problem, as an Ankara court already heard the case; dismissed any connection to Ergenekon; convicted and sentenced Alpaslan Arslan with life in prison for the crime that he admitted to have committed with religious motives. According to Turkish press reports following the announcement of the indictment yesterday, Arslan’s attorney submitted an appeal with the High Court of Appeals [Yargitay] to re-open and combine the Danistay case with the Ergenekon file. This would be the only way to get Alparslan Arslan to serve a shorter prison term.

During the announcement about the indictment the prosecutor also stated that there were 20 secret witnesses given code names or numbers, whose real identities would be protected. However, as other protected information, leaked throughout the process, columnist of pro-AKP Star daily disclosed today the professions of three of those witnesses, claiming that their names and what they have to say will shake Turkey.

The editor-in-chief of the ultranationalist Tercüman daily, Ufuk Büyükçelebi (R), and the Ankara bureau chief of the radically secularist Cumhuriyet daily, Mustafa Balbay, were among those taken into police custody on Tuesday. Büyükçelebi was released on Friday, pending trial.

Arrested: Retired Gen. Şener Eruygur, Retired Gen. Hurşit Tolon, Journalist Mustafa Balbay, ATO chairman Sinan Aygün

And more pro-secular rallies since the arrests ...

Secularism and Islam at each others throats as per usual. Turkey: 99% Muslim, and the home of Islamophobia. And to think they still tell us that Turkey is the model of successful Islam. What shall Turkey do? Time for a two-state solution (or three if you want to settle the Kurds). Send in NATO or the UN or a 'coalition of the willing' and start building walls. Get Turkey off the coup-election merry-go-round. Stop the abuse of human rights. Sing us out Tammy ...


Anonymous said...


Abandon Skip said...

What gave you the impression I hate the Turks? It's not that black and white. Since I started blogging I have empathised with the secular Turks who have marched in huge rallies against the re-Islamification of their country. In appearance, many of them look like Westerners.

Turkey offers a lesson for Western countries. Ataturk tried to constrain Islam, but now it's out of the box again. This is why I follow events in Turkey. Turkey is stuck in an infinite loop of elections, party bans, and coups. Turkey is proof that Islam can't be kept out of politics, it keeps coming back.

Do I have a problem with secular Turks here in Australia? I'm not in favour of diversity of any kind but if they look and act like us then they'd be one of the last groups I'd complain about. But if they bring Islam into Australia, in any capacity, then I object.

Turkey is living proof that Islam and secularism/Christianity are not compatible. That's a huge lesson for Australia and that's why I blog about it. It's about learning lessons, not about hatred.

Abandon Skip said...

Correction: Turkey is not stuck in an infinite loop. The cycle will be broken shortly because demographics favour Islam, not the secular. Then the secular will become the persecuted, and that's why the secular need to divorce themselves from Islam, if they want their freedom.