Report: Turkish court charges 8 of a gang, provoking armed rebellion

PR-Inside.com (Pressemitteilung), Austria
Jan 27 2008

Report: Turkish court charges 8 members of gang allegedly provoking
armed rebellion

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) – A court on Saturday charged eight members of
a so-called patriotic gang, including a former high-ranking military
officer, with provoking an armed rebellion against the government,
the private news agency Dogan said.
The crackdown follows a promise by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan to eradicate clandestine hardline nationalist groups who
allegedly target people they deem a threat to the country’s unity.
The group includes a retired brigadier general, Veli Kucuk, and a
nationalist lawyer who are accused of plotting to murder Nobel
literature prize laureate Orhan Pamuk as well as Kurdish politicians,
newspaper reports have said.
A court has issued a news blackout on the investigation into the gang
and officials would not comment on the arrests.
The accused were among dozens of people detained in police raids on
homes in Istanbul and other cities since Tuesday. Private CNN-Turk
television said previously that five other people had been arrested
in relation to the same investigation, but the report did not
elaborate. Some of those detained, including a prominent journalist,
have been released, Dogan said.
The crackdown was part of a widening investigation into dozens of
hand grenades seized at the home of a retired noncommissioned
military officer in Istanbul in June. The grenades, some of which
were made by a state-run factory, had been issued to the security
forces.
The suspects are allegedly members of a secretive gang called
«Ergenekon» that allegedly planned to create an «atmosphere of chaos»
by attempting to kill Pamuk and prominent Kurdish politicians, Sabah
newspaper reported this past week. Several other newspapers reported
the same.
They reportedly hoped that the chaos after the murders would provoke
a military coup that would topple the Islamic-rooted government of
Erdogan, which patriotic groups accuse of making too many concessions
to Christian and Kurdish minorities as part of the nation’s bid to
join the European Union.
Those charged include Kemal Kerincsiz, an ultra-nationalist lawyer
who gained notoriety for instigating a court case against Pamuk,
accusing him of the crime of insulting Turkishness. The case was
opened after the novelist told a Swiss newspaper «thirty-thousand
Kurds and one million Armenians were killed in these lands, and
nobody but me dares to talk about it.» Pamuk was prosecuted but the
case against him was later dropped.

Kerincsiz also launched court cases against ethnic Armenian
journalist Hrant Dink _ who was murdered a year ago _ and against
author Elif Shafak on the same charges.
Nationalists like Kerincsiz see comments such as those made by Pamuk
as a serious threat to Turkey’s unity, believing they aim to carve
the country into pieces.
Police reportedly moved against the group following intelligence that
the gang’s list of people to be assassinated was handed over to a hit
man, newspapers claimed. (AP)

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