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"Ergenekon" is the name given to an alleged clandestine, Kemalist ultra-nationalist organization in Turkeymarker with ties to members of the country's military and security forces. The group is accused of terrorism in Turkeymarker. It is named after Ergenekon, a mythical place located in the inaccessible valleys of the Altay Mountainsmarker.

Its agenda has variously been described as Eurasianist, and isolationist. The defendants portray themselves as defenders of secularism, and national sovereignty. According to the indictment, the group's claim to legitimacy is that it allegedly protects national interests, which the defendants believe are incompatible with the rule of the democratically elected government of Justice and Development Party and are harmed by Turkey's alleged concessions to the West. In Turkey, the extensions of the state—the establishment—that are considered responsible for this are referred to as the "deep state". The existence of the "deep state" was affirmed in Turkish opinion after the Susurluk scandal in 1996.

Alleged members have been indicted on charges of plotting to foment unrest, among other things by assassinating intellectuals, politicians, judges, military staff, and religious leaders, with the ultimate goal of toppling the pro-Western incumbent government in a coup that was planned to take place in 2009. This follows allegations published in Nokta that several abortive coups with the same intent were planned a few years ago. The proximate motive behind these false flag activities is said to be to discredit the incumbent Justice and Development Party and derail Turkey's accession process to the European Union.

Turkey has already been through four "successful" military coups since democratic elections were first held in 1950. At the first coup d'état in 1960, the junta executed the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the country, Adnan Menderes and two of his ministers. There were more coups in 1971, in 1980 and in 1997, with additional numerous attempted "un-successfull" coups all through these years.

Ergenekon's modus operandi has been compared to Operation Gladio's Turkish branch, the Counter-Guerrilla. It has been said that the people who constitute the "deep state" are members of, or make use of, this covert organization, which was established at the beginning of the Cold War to contain communism.Furthermore, Ergenekon is allegedly a derivative of the Counter-Guerrilla.

Over a hundred people, including several generals, party officials, and a former secretary general of the National Security Council, have been detained or questioned since July 2008. Hearings began on 20 October 2008, and are expected to continue for over a year.

Commentators in the Turkish press have called Ergenekon "the case of the century".

What is Ergenekon?

An organization named "Ergenekon" has been talked about since the Susurluk scandal, which exposed a similar gang. However, it is said that Ergenekon has undergone serious changes since then. The first person to publicly talk about the organization was retired naval officer Erol Mütercimler, who said in 1997:

Mütercimler said he heard of the original organization's existence from retired general Memduh Ünlütürk, who was involved in the anti-communist Ziverbey interrogations following the 1971 coup. Major general Ünlütürk told Mütercimler that Ergenekon was founded with the support of the CIA and the Pentagon. Mütercimler was detained during the Ergenekon investigation for questioning before being released.

Mütercimler and others, however, draw a distinction between the Ergenekon of today and the original one, which they equate with the Counter-Guerrilla; Operation Gladio's Turkish branch. Today's Ergenekon is said to be a "splinter" off the old one. The person whose testimony contributed most to the indictment, Tuncay Güney, described Ergenekon as a junta related to the Turkish Resistance Organization ( , TMT) operating in North Cyprus; the TMT was established by founding members of the Counter-Guerrilla. Former North Cyprusmarker President Rauf Denktaş denied any connection of the TMT to Ergenekon.

Another position is that while some of the suspects may be guilty of something, there is no organization to which they are all party, and that the only thing they have in common is opposition to the AKP.There are also allegations that Ergenekon's agenda is in line with the policies of the NSC, elaborated in the top-secret "Red Book" (the National Security Policy Document).

Mütercimler's account was also cited in the first book on the subject, Can Dündar and Celal Kazdağlı's Ergenekon (1997). In an article for Milliyet, Dündar compares Ergenekon with the Susurluk gang, and the Counter-Guerrilla; two other clandestine groups. He says that the Susurluk gang had more funding and that its investigation had more popular support.Dündar also says that Ergenekon differs from the Counter-Guerrilla in that the former leans towards Russia, while the latter leans towards the United States. Claims of Ergenekon's Eurasian affinity are supported by the statements of the movement's chief advocate, Aleksandr Dugin, who called Ergenekon a "pro-Russian group". He said that he knew almost all of the suspects, and praised them for rallying the right and the left (i.e., the opponents of the pro-Western incumbent party, AKP) under the banner of neo-Kemalism. A salient manifestation of these anti-AKP efforts are the Republic Protests of 2007, under the leadership of Şener Eruygur.The coalition between the left and right (wherein the nominally leftist CHP gravitated to the MHP) was noted by certain observers in the Turkish press in advance of the investigation.

The chairman of the Susurluk commission, Mehmet Elkatmış, said that the Susurluk and Ergenekon gangs are identical except in name. He said that the left is not supportive of the Ergenekon investigation because of revelations that many crimes formerly thought to have been carried out by religious fundamentalists are now claimed to be false flag operations. A noted retired intelligence agent, Mahir Kaynak, says that on the contrary Ergenekon is the antithesis of Susurluk; the former is predominantly military, while the latter was a paramilitary gang that was erected in opposition to the military.Şamil Tayyar of the newspaper Star, who has written books on Ergenekon, says that Ergenekon is not a continuation of Susurluk, but the 9 March junta of the 1971 coup.

The former director of the İstanbul Police Department's Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Department ( ) said that today's Ergenekon is a military wing of the Susurluk gang.

When the Russian newspaper Kommersant declared Dugin to be the brains behind Ergenekon, Dugin responded that he had no part in illegal activities, but that he saw no crime in sharing their vision of Turkey's future—free from the influence of NATO and the United States.

Perinçek had been participating in the conferences of Dugin's Eurasia Party since 1996 (before Dugin joined). Perinçek claims to be the ideologue of the party, and to have influenced the Eurasia Party, rather than being under its influence.

Structure

Based on documents prepared by one of the prosecutors, an article in Sabah says that the organization consists of six cells with the following personnel:
  • Secret and civil cells liaisons: Veli Küçük and Muzaffer Tekin.
  • Lobbyists: M. Zekeriya Öztürk, Kemal Kerinçsiz, İsmail Yıldız, and Erkut Ersoy.
  • NGO head: Sevgi Erenerol. Kemal Kerinçsiz (assistant).
  • Theory, Propaganda, and Disinformation Department head: Doğu Perinçek.
  • Mafia structuring head: Veli Küçük. Muzaffer Tekin (assistant).
  • Underground contacts: Ali Yasak, Sami Hoştan, Semih Tufan Gülaltay, and Sedat Peker.
  • Terrorist organizations heads: Veli Küçük and Doğu Perinçek.
  • University structuring: Kemal Yalçın Alemdaroğlu, Emin Gürses, Habib Ümit Sayın.
  • Research and information gathering head: Mehmet Zekeriya Öztürk.
  • Judicial branch heads: Kemal Kerinçsiz, Fuat Turgut, and Nusret Senem.


Of those, the structure of only the "Theory" department has been revealed as of September 2008.

Despite the seemingly high status of Veli Küçük in the organization—some have even called him the leader—Şamil Tayyar of the Star daily says that Küçük is not "even among the top ten". The identity of the "number one" member has been revealed by the MİT to the prosecutors, but will not be made public. Some journalists have offered conflicting hints on who it might be, but do not openly name anyone due to a lack of concrete evidence. It is said that the top position is held for a six month term by an active army officer. By selecting active officers, the group maintains connections with the establishment. Suspect-at-large Tuncay Güney says that the identity of the leader can be found by tracing the network's (as yet unknown) financier.

Name

Two explanations have been put forth regarding the genesis of the organization's name, which is used by alleged members and mentioned in several of its documents. The first is that the name derives from the Ergenekon myth; a place in Eurasia of mythological significance, esp. among nationalists (see Agartha). Another hypothesis is that organization is named after retired colonel—and Veli Küçük's mentor—Necabettin Ergenekon. Ergenekon distances himself from the group, saying that his name has been tarnished by association with "terrorists". Born in 1926, Erzurum as Necabettin Baltacı, he was suspected by later-assassinated state prosecutor Cevat Yurdakul as being behind a string of mysterious deaths in the 70s. Baltacı had his surname changed "some time in the '60s" to avoid confusion with another person by the same name, before retiring in 1982, says Zaman.

Discovery

Although the investigation was officially launched in 2007, the existence of the organization was known beforehand. The files on Ergenekon were discovered after a spy called Tuncay Güney got detained in March 2001 for petty fraud. Some say the crime was a ploy to set the investigation in motion. A police search of his house turned up the six sacks of evidence on which the indictment is based.

One month later, a columnist on good terms with the government, Fehmi Koru, was the first to break the news, under his usual pen name, Taha Kıvanç. His article was based on a key Ergenekon report dated 29 October 1999 and titled "Ergenekon: Analysis, Structuring, Management, and Development Project".

Tuncay Güney's testimony (2001)

The person whose statements to the police in 2001 formed "the backbone of the indictment" was a spy named Tuncay Güney, alias "İpek". Güney is believed to be subordinate to Mehmet Eymür, formerly of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT)'s Counterterrorism Department. Eymür was discharged and his department disbanded in 1997. Güney's relationship to the MİT has been a matter of confusion; his boss was once a MİT employee, while the MİT says Güney was not (specifically, he was not a "registered informant") and that the MİT considered him a suspicious person.

He had allegedly been tasked with infiltrating the gendarmerie's intelligence agency, JITEM, and Ergenekon in 1992. Güney was apprehended in 2001 for issuing fake licenses and plates for luxury cars. He is still sentenced in absentia for this offense.No charges have been brought against him in the frame of the Ergenekon investigation, some say as a result of a bargain struck with the authorities.However, he is currently under investigation, and State Prosecutor Ziya Hurşit Karayurt has proposed that he be subpoenaed. The court is deliberating whether to consolidate his earlier case with the Ergenekon one. In addition, legal proceedings have been initiated to obtain his testimony from abroad using Interpolmarker.Prosecutor Öz has prepared a list of 37 questions for Güney, who says he will co-operate if the questioning is done by the Canadian police.

Güney has been said to conflate fact and fiction, casting doubt over the indictment, which names him a "fugitive suspect" ( ). Güney is seen as such an important figure that rival press groups have exchanged columns accusing one another of attempting to influence public opinion by questioning his credibility. It is alleged that one the parties, Aydın Doğan, was asked not to publish material about Ergenekon, by Veli Küçük through Doğu Perinçek. In December 2008, Güney said that a Hürriyet reporter offered him a bribe not to talk about the newspaper, one of whose senior members is allegedly in Ergenekon. Hürriyet denied the allegations.

Engin Bağbars' testimony (2006)

The convicted leader of a twenty-person narcotics gang, Engin Bağbars, gave a 10.5 hour testimony to the police about Ergenekon on 27 September 2006. He met Ergenekon suspect Muzaffer Tekin in 2005 through a person named Gökhan Başoğlu, who told him that the gang had infiltrated the intelligence agency and the military, and that they had their sights on heading the police force. Başoğlu also proposed to induct Bağbars into the Kuvayı Milliye Derneği. Bağbars says he was being groomed to carry out a disruptive act similar to Hrant Dink's assassination; he was given a Kalashnikov.

Bağbars claims credit for uncovering Ergenekon. Intelligence analysts set to work after his testimony. Other sources say that this occurred on 24 May, at the Tekirdağ State Prosecutor's office. Bağbars was present as a witness in the Ergenekon trial.

Grenades in Ümraniye (2007)

The investigation officially began after the Trabzon Gendarmerie Headquarters' tip-off line received an anonymous call on 12 June 2007 saying that grenades and C-4 explosives were to be found at Güngör Sokak № 2, Çakmak Mahallesi, Ümraniyemarker ( ). A search warrant was immediately obtained from the Ümraniye 2. Peace Penal Court. 27 hand grenades (but no C-4) were found in a nylon-covered wooden chest on the roof of a slum at the stated address. According to the indictment, the caller was Şevki Yiğit, the father of the building's tenant, Ali Yiğit. Şevki found the bomb-filled chest by accident and asked his his son about them. Ali then asked the owner of the house, his uncle Mehmet Demirtaş about it. According to Yiğit, Demirtaş responded that there was a chest with military equipment on the roof belonging to ÖHD NCO Oktay Yıldırım, and instructed him to keep quiet about it. Ali Yiğit added that retired captain Muzaffer Tekin and retired NCO Mahmut Öztürk, both of the special forces, once stopped by his grocery store (adjacent to the slum, and owned by Demirtaş) in a black Mercedes while Yıldırım was present, that Yıldırım left only to return with Öztürk 15–20 minutes later in a yellow Opel Corsa, and that his father found the bombs 3–4 months later. Yiğit said that his father, who lives in Trabzon, might have placed the call since he was not on good terms with Demirtaş.

The grenades were found to bear the same serial number as those used in 14 incidents throughout the country.They were disposed of two weeks after their discovery on account of their not being preservable.

A search of Yıldırım's office in Reina and Muzaffer Tekin's house revealed a secret document titled "Ergenekon Lobi" about the group's plans. The information in the documents led the authorities to revisit the Tuncay Güney case.

Yıldırım later denied the charges, though his fingerprints were found on the chest. During his trial, he referred to Demirtaş as a former subordinate soldier of his, and said that the four reports about his fingerprints contradicted one another. Yıldırım also alleged that Ali Yiğit failed to distinguish Tekin from Öztürk when brought to Bayrampaşa Prison. Cross-examining Yiğit, Yıldırım asked him if Demirtaş was present when the police searched for the grenades. Yiğit said "no", contradicting his earlier statement that Demirtaş had arrived after a phone call by the police. (Demirtaş said he was personally not present.)

At the thirteenth hearing, Ali Yiğit said that he mistook someone for Muzaffer Tekin, with whom he shared a cell in Bayrampaşa prison and bonded well enough to look up to as a father figure. He also stated that he had moved out of the building twenty days before they were found. After learning about the grenades, he left his job at the grocery, and became a taxi driver. He was allegedly driving by the house when the police came, and told them that the place was his so that they would not break down the door. However, his uncle Demirtaş did not trust Yiğit and left the keys to Yiğit's brother. They fetched the keys, searched the house, had Yiğit confirm that the grenades had been found and that the house had not been harmed, then took him to the station to obtain his statement, described above. After being detained, Yiğit says he was intimidated by Demirtaş, Kerinçsiz, Yıldırım, and his lawyer. Yıldırım allegedly pressured Yiğit to incriminate his father (Şevki) by calling him a weapons smuggler.

Demirtaş strongly denied having made the explanation about the origin of the chest, as alleged by Yiğit. Demirtaş alleged that Yiğit confided to him that he had only seen pictures of Tekin at the police station. According to Radikal, the police threatened him with 39 years in jail if he did not blame Oktay Yıldırım.

Investigation

The investigation was officially launched after an anonymous call in June 2007 to the Trabzon Gendarmerie turned up a chest of grenades belonging to members of the Special Forces Command ( , ÖHD). An investigation of the network of acquaintances of the suspects turned up more information and snowballed into the present situation. Members of the ÖHD were notably implicated in the covered-up Susurluk scandal from ten years earlier.

The bulk of the Ergenekon indictment was drawn from documents found in 2001 when a former National Intelligence Organization agent named Tuncay Güney got detained (his identity unknown to the police) for a minor offense. Some say this was deliberate, as he provided detailed information to the police about Ergenekon while in detention for an unrelated felony. The Istanbul police force closed the investigation by 2002 citing a lack of incriminating evidence.

Another significant development was the abortive coups of 2004. When the intelligence agencies got wind of an assassination threat towards Chief of Staff Yaşar Büyükanıt and yet another coup planned for 2009 (under Büyükanıt's successor, İlker Başbuğ), the investigation was kick-started. Around the same time, the dissolution of the incumbent Justice and Development Party was proposed.

Trial hearings began on 20 October 2008. Retired public prosecutor Mete Göktürk has estimated that they will last at least one year.

Judiciary

The Istanbul Court of Assize for Organised- and Terror Crimes is handling the case, officially numbered 2007/1536 and sometimes referred to by the name of the location where a cache of weapons was found in 2007, Ümraniye. The indictment number is 2008/623 and the base number ( ) is 2008/968.

The original three prosecutors are Zekeriya Öz (prosecutor-in-chief), Mehmet Ali Pekgüzel and Nihat Taşkın. The judge is Köksal Şengün. Öz rides an armored Mercedes, and is protected by a team of fifteen people.

In September 2008, suspects Muzaffer Tekin, Ergün Poyraz, Kemal Kerinçsiz, Doğu Perinçek and Colonel Erdal Sarızeybek filed a criminal report against the prosecutors, citing “conducting a biased investigation, gross misconduct and exercises not fit to a prosecutor.” The Minister of Justice, Mehmet Ali Şahin, rejected the inquiry, finding no wrongdoing.

In November 2008, the newspaper Cumhuriyet and its publisher, Yeni Gün Haber Ajansı Basın ve Yayıncılık A.Ş., launched a libel suit for 100,000 Lira against the three prosecutors. One of its leading columnists, İlhan Selçuk, is a defendant in the Ergenekon case. Two more prosecutors have been assigned to the case to ensure the trial proceeds without delay.

Allegations

The investigation exposed alleged links between an armed attack on the Turkish Council of State in 2006 that left a judge dead, a bombing of a secularist newspaper, threats and attacks against people accused of being unpatriotic and the 1996 Susurluk incident, as well as links to the plans of some groups in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to overthrow the present government. According to the investigation, Ergenekon had a role in the murder of Hrant Dink, a prominent journalist of Armenian descent Italian priest Father Andrea Santoro in February 2006 and the brutal murders of three Christians, one a German national, killed in the province of Malatyamarker in April 2007. Ergenekon indictment reopens gendarmerie major’s murder case, Today's Zaman, 13 August 2008. Furthermore, files about JİTEM related the assassination of former JİTEM commander Cem Ersever, killed in November 1993, to Ergenekon. A former JİTEM member, Abdülkadir Aygan, said that JİTEM is the military wing of Ergenekon.

Documents seized in the investigation if authentic would show that the group planned a bomb attack in İstanbulmarker's Taksim Squaremarker, triggering chaos that would be used as a pretext for military intervention. It is also alleged that those detained were involved in provocation and agitation during the Gazi incidents of 1995, when tens of people died in clashes with the police in demonstrations after an attack at an Alevi coffeehouse in the neighborhood.

Recently uncovered evidence suggests that the 1993 death of General Eşref Bitlis, and that of journalist Uğur Mumcu may be related to Ergenekon. Both Bitlis and Mumcu were investigating how Jalal Talabani, one of the Kurdish leaders of northern Iraq and, as of 2008, president of Iraq, came into possession of 100,000 firearms belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces.

Some evidence has been notably omitted from the indictment: the "coup diaries" of general Özden Örnek and certain military documents. The diaries were not included as the prosecutor concluded that, despite being authentic, they were but obtained illegally, said Alper Görmüş, the editor-in-chief of the journal that originally published them. Regarding the military documents, the Armed Forces said that they contained confidential information that could "spark an international crisis".

According to the Turkish daily Today's Zaman, Ergenekon was involved in assassinations of Iranian reformist leader Dariush Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh Eskandari Forouhar.

Militant links

According to Zaman, there are links between Ergenekon and numerous militant organizations, such as the "Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the extreme-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), the Islamist organization Hizbullah, the ultranationalist Turkish Revenge Brigades (TİT), the Turkish Workers' and Peasants' Liberation Army (TİKKO), the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party(MLKP) and the Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), an extreme group wishing to reinstate the Islamic Caliphate".

Zaman quoted a senior intelligence officer, Bülent Orakoğlu, as having said that the PKK, Dev Sol, Hezbollah, and Hizb ut-Tahrir are artificial organizations set up by the network, and that Abdullah Öcalan himself is an Ergenekon member. Zaman also writes that the former PKK leader, Şemdin Sakık, said in his testimony that the Ergenekon network was in close contact with the group and even co-operated with it on several occasions.According to Sakık, he was brought to Turkey by a group of men led by Mahmut Yıldırım, also known as Yeşil (Green)—a convicted mafia leader whose name had surfaced in the report on the Susurluk scandal. He is believed to have been killed shortly after the Susurluk scandal.

Sakık said the Ergenekon gang planned to co-operate with a number of terrorist organizations, including the PKK, to achieve its objectives. "This cooperation was realized with Doğu Perinçek (the leader of the Workers' Party) and several other figures. Cemil Bayık (a senior PKK leader) was also among these figures," he remarked. In another Zaman article, JITEM informant Abdulkadir Aygan made a similar remark.

Zaman's claims have been disputed. The testimony of Sakık was not released to the press, hence it is not official. PKK's imprisoned leader, Abdullah Öcalan, declared before court that Sakık had killed 33 people on Ergenekon's orders.

Öcalan dismissed allegations made by intelligence officer Bülent Orakoğlu concerning himself, but he did say that a group inside the PKK, which he called the Zaza Group, had links with Ergenekon. He said that this group was led by Sait Çürükkaya and tried to seize control of the PKK, adding "Particularly in the Diyarbakır-Muş-Bingöl triangle, they have staged intensive and bloody attacks."

Kurdish Democrat Ahmet Acar alleged that Öcalan instructed the PKK-friendly Democratic Society Party (DTP) to remain silent about Ergenekon.

Lieutenant Mehmet Ali Çelebi, detained in the Ergenekon investigations, allegedly had links with the extreme Islamist group Hizb-ut Tahrir. Çelebi was allegedly the key which made possible the arrest of five Hizb-ut-Tahrir members in September 2008. Hizb-ut Tahrir refutes the allegations.

Responding to allegations in Taraf, DHKP/C issued a press release ridiculing claims of its connection to Ergenekon.

2009 coup plan

One of the most persistent allegations is that the organization has been planning to execute a coup in 2009. The alleged masterminds behind this coup plot are generals Kemal Yavuz and Tuncer Kılınç; Yavuz co-ordinating the Ankara troops, and Kılınç the Istanbul troops. Both generals were detained in January 2009. The co-ordination is allegedly done through grass roots headquarters ( ). The Turkish police said the round-up was triggered by orders Ibrahim Sahin gave to assassinate 12 Armenian leaders in Sivasmarker.

Suspects

86 people were indicted in July 2008, 48 of whom were detained. Journalist Claire Berlinksi writes "Many of the accused are, if not guilty as charged, guilty of something…If you put all the defendants in a room together, they’d kill each other".

Kuddusi Okkır, detained for allegedly being the financial supplier of the Ergenekon network, died from cancer only a few days after he was released. According to his wife, Sabriye Okkır, he was in stable condition prior to his arrest on 23 June 2007. She claims that the authorities have done nothing to save her husband's life and filed a complaint to the Ministry of Justice. Shortly after that the ministry opened an investigation to determine the accuracy of those claims.

High-ranking generals (Hurşit Tolon and Şener Eruygur), for whom a separate indictment is being prepared, are for the first time being tried in a civilian court. Tolon disavows any relationship to the organization and says that he was scapegoated. Retired military judge Ümit Kardaş said that the detainment of Tolon and Eruygur was done with the consent of the high command, reflecting its disowning of neonationalism ( ).

A fresh wave of detentions in January 2009 netted 37 more people, including some generals, after consulting the high command, which swiftly gave permission. (The Minister of Defense, Vecdi Gönül, was not consulted.) One of them, Tuncer Kılınç, is the former secretary general of the National Security Council (formerly a military institution). Immediately before the arrests, well-connected journalist Şamil Tayyar speculated on whether Kılınç is the leader. (Tayyar is coincidentally promoting his new book on Ergenekon, Kıt’a Dur.)Twelve of the arrests took place in Sivas, where weapons were also found. According to Zaman, the Sivas raid is connected to numerous plots mentioned in the indictment. Police chief İbrahim Şahin allegedly made phone calls to order the attack. Two of the twelve were released the next day.A map indicating the location of arms caches was found on detainee İbrahim Şahin; the former chief of the police force's Special Operations Department ( ). Excavations are underway; numerous weapons have been found.This wave was particularly divisive, as it included numerous senior military officials. There is a concern that the move was politically motivated, and will affect the direction of the investigation.

Most suspects face at least ten years in prison. The suspected ringleaders, Doğu Perinçek, Mehmet Fikri Karadağ, Veli Küçük, İlhan Selçuk and Muzaffer Tekin will be held responsible for criminal acts perpetrated by subordinates, and receive life sentences.

Munitions

A common objection raised by detractors of the investigation is that the group does not have the wherewithal to carry out large-scale militant acts. This section aims to clarify what is known about the munitions presented as evidence. This is also of relevance to linking acts allegedly carried out by the organization, as it has been alleged that weapons of the same type and serial number were found in several locations. Debate has focused in particular on the grenades, which can be uniquely identified by the fuse type ( ) and batch number ( ).

According to police officials, "HGR DM 41" indicates German origin, SPLITTER denotes a fragmentation grenade, "COMP-B" means composition B, "LOS" indicates European production up to NATO standards, while the number following "FMP" indicates the batch.

Akhisar and Eyüp
One of the two grenades recovered in Akhisar, Manisa had the serial number HGR DM 41 SPLITTER COMP-B LOS FMP 24. Another grenade from Eyüp, İstanbul had the serial number HGR DM 41 COMP-B LOS FMR-24.

Urla, İzmir (1999)


One of the ten grenades had the serial number HGR DM 41 SPLITTER COMP-B LOS FMP 16.

Şemdinli (2005)


Two grenades used in the Şemdinlimarker incident on 9 November 2005 were found to bear the serial number HGR DM 41 SPLITTER COMP-B LOS FMP 134.

Cumhuriyet (2006)


Alparslan bombed the offices of the newspaper Cumhuriyet in May 2006. The grenades did not go off in his first two attempts; he succeeded on his third. The NATO standard, Makine ve Kimya Endüstrisi Kurumu (MKE) model 44 grenades had the following serial numbers:

  • TAPA M 204 A 2/KF-MKE-91 12-77 (5 May 2006)
  • TAPA M 204 A 2/KF-MKE-173 9-85 (10 May 2006)
  • TAPA M 204 A 2/KF-MKE-91 12-77 (11 May 2006)


The part before the slash denotes the fuse type, while the part after it denotes the batch number. For example, the batch number of the first entry means 'batch 91, December 1977'. The army bought 8800 such grenades from the MKE in 1978.

Ümraniye, İstanbul (12 June 2007)


The serial numbers of some of the 27 grenades found in Ümraniye are:

  • HGR DM 41 SPLITTER COMP-B LOS FMP 16
  • HGR DM 41 SPLITTER COMP-B LOS FMP 24
  • HGR DM 41 SPLITTER COMP-B LOS FMP 22
  • TAPA M 204 A2/KF-MKE-169 5-85


These grenades are registered to the Hasdal barracks in Istanbul.

Fikret Emek (26 June 2007)


The recovered materiel included 11 kg of C-3, a telescopic rifle, a Kalashnikov, a shotgun, M-16 shells, 12 grenades (10 from the MKE), smoke bombs, 12 210g TNT setups, 6 500g TNT moulds, a 1.5 kg TNT mould, a 1 kg demolition block, ignition munitions. This is sufficient to flatten a twelve-floor reinforced concrete structure, with each floor over 400 m2. The grenades have serial number TAPA M204 A2/KF-MKE-91 12-77, matching the ones from the Cumhuriyet attack.

Trabzon (13 December 2008)


With the help of a tip-off on 3 December 2008, the Trabzon police found nine grenades of the same batch number as those in Ümraniye. In nearby Yomra, the police seized a gun and eight 7.65 mm bullets for it, a Kalashnikov rifle and three chargers, a total of 420 7.62 mm Kalashnikov bullets and a grenade. In the city, eight grenades were found; seven hidden inside a washing machine, and another in an oven. Trabzon governor Nuri Okutan said that none of the suspects were public officials or members of the military. The serial numbers of the Trabzon grenades are:

  • HGR DM 41 SPLITTER COMP-B LOS FMP 143
  • HGR DM 41 SPLITTER COMP-B LOS FMP 197
  • HGR DM 41 SPLITTER COMP-B LOS FMP 125


The grenades in Ümraniye had also been found following a tip-off in Trabzon. However, the former tip-off was to the gendarmerie rather than the police.

Mustafa Dönmez (7 January 2009)


22 grenades, over 100 bullets, 1 Kalashnikov, and 4 pistols were found in Dönmez's vacation house in Sakarya.

İbrahim Şahin (7 January 2009)


Three drawings and 9 unlicensed Glock pistols were found in the home of special forces police chief İbrahim Şahin. The drawings led to the excavation of 8000 bullets (mostly Uzi), 2 light-weight anti-tank weapons, 1 kg of plastic explosives, 10 hand grenades whose serial numbers had been removed and 10 smoke bombs. The recovered weapons were determined to be buried in July 2008 (the month generals Eruygur and Tolon were detained). They are reported to be different from the ones that were entrusted to Şahin's department and went missing after Susurluk scandal.

Response

Many people have criticized the manner in which the Ergenekon investigation is being conducted, citing in particular the length of the indictment, wiretapping in breach of privacy laws, illegal collection of evidence, and political motivations. The media's coverage of the investigation has also been criticized—for bombarding readers with speculations, and releasing misinformation outright.

Some have said that the investigation is intended to clamp down on the incumbent party's secular opposition, pointing to the coincident timing of the dissolution case against the AKP and the Ergenekon probe. Superficially, the chronology surrounding the two events would seem to suggest otherwise, as the AKP dissolution case was started on 14 March 2008, whereas the bombs in Ümraniyemarker which exposed the network were discovered nine months earlier, on 13 June 2007. However, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had presented a diagram of the network to prime minister Erdogan and the chief of staff in 2003—well before the investigation. Furthermore, the government had the Ergenekon files since 2001.Ankara University's Baskın Oran sees such reactions as indicative of the left's inability to accurately assess the situation, and says that the state is simply purging itself of undemocratic elements. Murat Belge of Istanbul Bilgi University thinks there is a connection between the dissolution case against the AKP and the Ergenekon investigation, and says the Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertuğrul Günay admits as much. Belge was tortured in 1972 by Veli Küçük at the infamous Ziverbey villa; a Counter-Guerrilla intimidation operation.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Mark Parris, said that one of the most important actors in the current crisis in Turkey are the unknown third forces behind the Ergenekon probe that may be acting on behalf of the prime minister, or that the prime minister may or may not know about. The alleged unknown forces, organized in the Police Intelligence department and has prosecutors, seem to be united against the front that want to topple Erdogan and are determined to stop them.

In August 2008, 300 intellectuals from Turkey declared their support for the investigation and called upon all civil and military institutions to deepen the investigation in order to reveal the rest of the people tied to Ergenekon.

In September 2008, the Justice and Development Party became mired in a corruption scandal related to the Deniz Feneri ("Lighthouse") charity based in Germany. The Doğan Media Group, in particular, jumped on the scandal, leading to a public feud between its owner, Aydın Doğan, and the prime minister, Erdoğan. The former chief of the MİT's defunct Counter-Terrorism Department, Mehmet Eymür, described the affair as a retaliation by Ergenekon.

Trial hearings

The trials were held up when some of the suspects' lawyers exercised their right to have the indictment—all 2,455 pages of it—read out loud. Most of the time from the third hearing on 27 October to the eleventh on 10 November was devoted to reading it.

In a separate trial, the Şişli Second Criminal Court concluded that the organization does not exist and sentenced author Zihni Çakır to 18 months in prison for "violating the secrecy of an ongoing legal investigation" and chided him libeling the Turkish Armed Forces. The judge who penned the verdict, Hakkı Yalçınkaya, was shown to have a suspicious relationship with Kemal Kerinçsiz, according to a phone conversation from December 2007, recorded under warrant. Yalçınkaya was one of the judges on the case of Hrant Dink; a person Kerinçsiz was particularly critical of.

Suspect Ali Yiğit, whose uncle owned the house in Ümraniye, testified at the thirteenth hearing that the bombs in the house belonged to Oktay Yıldırım.

At the twenty third hearing, defendants Mehmet Zekeriya Öztürk and Vatan Bölükbaşoğlu were questioned about their alleged possession of pornography. Öztürk said the laptop in which the images were found was not his. Bölükbaşoğlu said the images attributed to him may have been planted by the police. Fikret Emek, who retired from the Special Forces Command ( ) in 2004, was questioned about explosives and guns he had allegedly captured from the PKK and entrusted to his mother in Eskişehir. Emek said that the weapons were with his mother for fifteen years, and no longer functional. The TNT was allegedly from 1950, and the grenades from 1977-78 and 1984. Judge Köksal Şengün questioned Emek over why he did not turn over the capture weapons to the military, and Emek condeded that he had made a mistake.

At the twenty sixth hearing on December 15, Veli Küçük's lawyer, his daughter Zeynep, pointed out discrepancies between statements attributed to his father mentioned in different parts of the indictment and its annexes. The lawyer also pointed out contradictions in the statements of Osman Yıldırım (convicted of bombing Cumhuriyet).Veli Küçük said he was bewildered that the "state" had framed him. Former JITEM operative Abdülkadir Aygan and Susurluk Commission member Fikri Sağlar both interpreted this as a message from Küçük to his peers in the deep state ("the Establishment") that he would confess unless they soon come to his rescue.

References

  1. State connections to murder of journalist Hrant Dink being ignored, warns BIANET, IPS Communication Foundation (BIANET), 2008
  2. Ergenekon- Guide to Ergekon, Accused of Terrorism in Turkey, by Amy Zalman, About.com
  3. ( English)
  4. Partial English translation in and
  5. ( English)
  6. ( Google translation)
  7. (letter from Perinçek's lawyer and assistant, Hasan Basri Özbey)
  8. For details, refer to of the annex.
  9. Bitlis is mentioned in the indictment's annex; see for example file 323
  10. 1998 Report from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, chapter II, "SUSURLUK SCANDAL: Counter-guerilla Affairs", p.51
  11. Senior general knew about lieutenants’ Ergenekon contacts, Today's Zaman, 24 September 2008
  12. Senior general knew about lieutenants’ Ergenekon contacts, Today's Zaman, 24 September 2008.
  13. Turkish police uncover arms cache, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 10, 2009
  14. For further information on Tolon's situation, see


External links

Official



Ancillary





These charts were originally drawn by Tuncay Güney; see They are also included in the indictment's annex: folder 236, p.196-7



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