ANKARA: Long awaited day in Ergenekon case

Zaman Online, Turkey July 14 2008

Long awaited day in Ergenekon case

The content of an indictment filed against suspects in a case deemed
to be one of the most important in the history of the republic is
being announced today, officially explaining the accusations behind
dozens of detentions and arrests during a yearlong investigation.

According to information already leaked to the media, the indictment
was prepared by three prosecutors led by Zekeriya Ã-z on Ergenekon
— a crime network including journalists, academics, political party
leaders, civil society figures, former and possibly current army
officers, including generals, seeking to cause chaos in Turkey and
lead to a coup — is nearly 2,500 pages long. Eighty-five people are
being indicted by the document, 48 of whom were jailed during the
investigation, which started in the summer of 2007 as a probe into a
house discovered in Ä°stanbul being used as an arms depot and
which later turned out to be linked to the Ergenekon gang, designated
a terrorist organization by the prosecutor.

According to news reports yesterday, 20 witnesses whose testimonies
are in the indictment are referred to not by their names, but by
numbers assigned to each one due to concerns about their personal

The details of the indictment will be announced today by
Ä°stanbul Chief Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin, who said on
Saturday that he would not be sharing the entire content of the
indictment with the media but only general information. The 2,455-page
document was saved on three DVDs comprising 400 folders.

The indictment includes failed coup attempts planned by some of the
suspects while serving in the military as high-ranking
generals. Documents seized in the suspects’ offices and homes during
the Ergenekon investigation revealed that some retired generals had
attempted to stage three coup plans, codenamed Sarıkız,
Ayı&#xC5 ;?ıÄ?ı and Eldiven, between the
years 2002 and 2004 against the Justice and Development Party (AK
Party) government. The indictment, according to yesterday’s reports,
also mentions a fourth coup plan devised in November of 2002 by a
circle formed under the gendarmerie forces called the Republican Study
Group, similar to the Western Study Group, formed in 1998 under the
naval forces, which was key to an unarmed military intervention in
February of that year.

Retired Gen. Å?ener Eruygur, the chief of the Gendarmerie
Command at the time the Republican Study Group was founded, and
retired Col. Hasan Atilla UÄ?ur, the head of an intelligence
unit department at the Gendarmerie Command at the time, are currently
under arrest pending trial. Levent Ersöz, another senior former
general who served as head of Gendarmerie Command Intelligence at the
time, is currently wanted by the prosecution. He is believed to be
hiding abroad. The indictment claims the group was established by
Gen. Eruygur.

The indictment also claims Ergenekon operations were behind the
killing of a senior judge in a 2006 shooting at the Council of State
and the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who
was shot dead by an ultranationalist teenager in January 2007. The
prosecutors say the Dink assassination and the Council of State
shooting were operations of the group as it planned to stage attacks
and murders that would create "chaos in the country."

In addition to retired generals Eruygur and UÄ?ur, retired
Gen. Veli Küçük, who was the leader of an
ultranationalist organization in his civilian life, and
Gen. HurÅ?it Tolon, a former chief of the 1st Army, are also
currently under arrest. However, they are not the only suspects with a
military background. Eruygur also heads a seemingly civil society
organization called the Atatürkist Thought Association (ADD),
which organized massive rallies against the government in major cities
last year. These rallies, the plans of which are detailed in coup plot
documents, are now mostly seen as attempts to mobilize the masses to
serve the purposes of the coup planners.

Another public figure in the indictment is DoÄ?u
Perinçek, head of the Workers’ Party (Ä°P), who too has
also been under arrest for some time now. Each of the 85 suspect
indicted is addressed in five chapters, on average, detailing the
nature of the accusations, amounting to a total of 425 chapters on the
accused alone. Some of the chapters on the key suspects are as long as
150 pages. The indictment also details the Ergenekon terrorist
organization’s international links.

The indictment claims that İP leader Perinçek, retired
senior Gen. Küçük and Sedat Peker, an
ultranationalist leader of the underworld who is serving 14 years on
organized crime charges and who also has alleged links to the gang,
frequently met in foreign countries to have secret meetings.

News reports also say there will be a separate indictment for
Ret. Gen. Eruygur and Ret. Gen. Tolon, who were first detained and
then arrested by a court two weeks ago in the last wave of police
raids in the Ergenekon investigation.

The indictment will be presented today to a court which will then
decide under the rules of Turkey’s National Judicial Network project
which higher criminal court will hear the case. Later, the higher
criminal court assigned the case will have 15 days to either accept
the indictment or return it to the prosecutor’s office if there are
errors or inadequacies in the indictment. Once the indictment is
accepted, the case will start. The court will then hear witness
testimonies once again and review the situation of those under
arrest. If the court rejects the indictment, the investigation will
continue and the prosecutor will have to go over any errors or
inadequacies in the text before s/he resubmits the indictment.

Ã-zkök in his time pressured to resign

Meanwhile, former Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ã-zkök,
who was in office during the time of the coup attempts of Ergenekon
suspects and who made exclusive statements to Radikal daily’s Murat
Yetkin, said he was forced to resign from his position by the coup
plotters. According to Yetkin’s account, based on his interview with
Ã-zkök, there was pressure on him to resign and pressure to
block Gen. YaÅ?ar Büyükanıt, then Land
Forces commander, from being promoted to chief of general
staff. Yetkin wrote that former Gendarmerie Force Commander
Gen. Eruygur attempted to be promoted to chief of general staff
himself by excluding both Ã-zkök and

A mong other Ergenekon suspects currently in jail pending trial are
controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who has
filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals at
odds with Turkey’s official policies; Fikret KaradaÄ?, a retired
army colonel; and Sami HoÅ?tan, a key figure in the 1996
Susurluk affair in which close links between a police chief, an
internationally sought-after mafia boss and a Southeastern Kurdish
tribal leader whose people are funded by the state to fight separatist
terrorism had been exposed.

—————————————- ————————

Full list of Ergenekon suspects currently under arrest
Ret. Brig. Gen. Veli Küçük, Workers’ Party
(Ä°P) leader DoÄ?u Perinçek, Ä°P
Secretary-General Nusret Senem, Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate Press
spokeswoman Sevgi Erenerol, lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, National
Forces Association President retired Sr. Col. Mehmet Fikri
KaradaÄ?, retired Maj. Fikret Emek, retired noncommissioned
officer Oktay Yıldırım, retired Cpt. Muzaffer
Tekin, former Cpt. Zekeriya Ã-ztürk, retired Cpt. Gazi
Güder, retired noncommissioned officer Mahmut
Ã-ztürk, retired noncommissioned officer Orhan Tunç,
former Spc. Sgt. Muhammet Yüce, Bekir Ã-ztürk, Murat
Ã?aÄ?lar, former police officer Aydın
Yüksek, writer Ergün Poyraz, Susurluk affair convict
Sami HoÅ?tan, academics Dean Ã`mit Sayın and Dean Emin
Gürses, journalist Vedat Yenerer, Aydınlık
magazine Editor-in-Chief Serhan Bolluk, National Channel board member
Adnan Akfırat, National Channel Editor-in-Chief Ferit
Ä°lsever, National Channel Ä°zmir Bureau Chief Hayati
Ã-zcan and remaining suspects Hayrettin Ertekin, Mehmet
DemirtaÅ?, Muzaffer Å?enocak, Ä°smail
Yıldız, Mete Yalazangil, AyÅ?e Asuman Ã-zdemir,
Hüseyin Gazi OÄ?uz, Kahraman Å?ahin, Erol
Ã-lmez, Erkut Ersoy, Hüseyin Görüm,
OÄ?uz Alpaslan Abdülkadir, Abdullah ArapoÄ?lu,
Ã`mit OÄ?uztan, Vatan
BölükbaÅ?oÄ? lu, Muammer Karabulut,
Abdülmüttalip Tonçer, Selim Akkurt, Hikmet
�içek, Ali Kutlu, Rasim Görüm and
Behiç Gürcihan.

İlhan Selçuk, chief columnist of the Cumhuriyet daily,
and former Ä°stanbul University Rector Kemal AlemdaroÄ?lu
were also detained in the operation but later released pending
trial. The court ordered a ban on overseas travel for Selçuk
and bi-weekly checks at the nearest police station for

Close to 30 other suspects in addition to the individuals listed above
are being charged with links to Ergenekon.

14 July 2008, Monday