Second officer accused of Ergenekon involvement

Today’s Zaman, Turkey
Aug 10 2009

Second MÄ°T officer accused of Ergenekon involvement

The latest indictment in the case against Ergenekon — a clandestine
network charged with many crimes including plotting to overthrow the
government — includes a National Intelligence Organization
(MÄ°T) officer as a suspect, bringing the number of MÄ°T
officers who are now defendants in the ongoing Ergenekon trial to two.

The third indictment, accepted by a court last week, accuses
MÄ°T officer Ã-zel Yılmaz of warning former
Ä°stanbul Mayor and Ergenekon-suspect-at-large Bedrettin Dalan
shortly before a raid on Dalan’s house last year. In April weapons and
munitions believed to belong to Ergenekon were found buried on
property owned by Dalan’s Ä°stek Foundation in Ä°stanbul’s
Poyrazköy district.

The prosecution says the investigation into Yılmaz’s link to
Ergenekon is still under way.

Yılmaz is also believed to be the MİT officer who late
journalist Hrant Dink — assassinated in 2007 — said had threatened
him to be less outspoken on the Armenian question at the
Ä°stanbul Governor’s Office on Feb. 24, 2004. Dink said he had
been called to the governor’s office and warned by individuals, whom
he had not been introduced to, to be careful about what he wrote in
the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, where he was

Yılmaz is the second MİT officer to be implicated in the
case after former MÄ°T Ä°stanbul Region Chairman Nuri
GündeÅ?. Yılmaz was recently assigned as the head
of the agency’s regional branch in Ä°zmir.

The Dink speech Prior to his death, journalist Dink wrote that in
2004, shortly after writing an article in which he claimed that
Atatürk’s adopted daughter, Sabiha Gökçen, was an
Armenian orphan, he was called to the Ä°stanbul Governor’s
Office where he was threatened by a MÄ°T officer who did not
identify himself . The Turkish media, based on various sources, has
written that the mysterious officer was Yılmaz.

In an article published on Jan. 12, 2007 — just seven days before he
was shot dead outside his office — Dink claimed he was chosen as a
target and recounted the incident, saying that in addition to Deputy
Governor Ergun Güngör, a woman and a man had attended
the 2004 meeting. He said the governor’s office called him on Feb. 22,
2004, saying they would also like him to bring the documents regarding
his claims about Gökçen’s ethnic origin. Dink wrote that
the male individual was the only person who spoke before the end of
the Feb. 24 meeting. Dink wrote: `I realized that they did not even
want to see the documents that I had taken with me. I reminded them
that they had wanted to see the documents and handed them the
documents. But the content of the talk made it clear why I had been
called there: I had to know where to stop. I had to be
careful. Otherwise it wouldn’t be good.’

The identities of the two individuals remained a source of curiosity
for a long time. In response to a later parliamentary inquiry,
Abdülkadir Aksu, the interior minister at the time, did not
identify the individuals, but said they were both MÄ°T agents.

A statement from Governor Muammer Güler on Sept. 27, 2007 to
the court hearing the Dink murder trial denied Dink had been
threatened at the meeting. `The meeting in question was conducted in a
polite tone and in compliance with the general rules of official
etiquette and no threat was directed at him in the meeting,’
Güler’s statement said.

Yılmaz and Dalan operation In May, the prosecution in the
Ergenekon trial said Yılmaz had informed former İstanbul
Mayor Dalan, currently being sought as a fugitive in the probe, that
he was wanted as a suspect before the operation to detain him was
carried out.

The prosecutor said MÄ°T Ä°stanbul Regional Deputy
Chairman Yılmaz, who had frequent meetings with Dalan’s
personal assistant Ä°lhami Ã`mit Handan, informed Dalan that
he would be detained by police in the investigation.

Dalan fled to the US three months before a wave of Ergenekon-related
detentions in January. New evidence indicates that Dalan was informed
about the detentions by sources inside the MÄ°T. Dalan’s son
BarıÅ? Dalan, his personal assistant Handan and driver
CoÅ?kun Ã-mür were detained in the probe into the arms
found on land belonging to Dalan’s Ä°stek Foundation. Sources
say two MİT officials, including Yılmaz, paid a visit to
Ergenekon prosecutor Zekeriya Ã-z after these detentions, calling
on him to release Handan, saying he was an important MÄ°T
employee. During this visit, Yılmaz also said MİT
Undersecretary Emre Taner was in the know and had personally requested
that he visit Ã-z. When prosecutor Ã-z contacted Taner about the
visit, the MÄ°T undersecretary said he had not requested the
visit. The MÄ°T has launched an investigation into the two
officials who visited Ã-z.

In a related development, an investigation has been started into
Deputy Police Chief S.H. over alleged links with Handan. Sources note
that S.H. was in charge of the operation into the Ä°stek
Foundation and a probe into this individual was launched when it was
discovered that he had frequent contact with an individual from the
foundation being monitored by the police at the time of the
Ä°stek probe.

10 August 2009, Monday