Ankara: Ergenekon Suspects Attempt To Hide Evidence From Prosecutors

ERGENEKON SUSPECTS ATTEMPT TO HIDE EVIDENCE FROM PROSECUTORS

Today’s Zaman
12 August 2009, Wednesday

An army officer arrested as part of the investigation into Ergenekon,
a clandestine gang charged with many crimes including plotting to
overthrow the government, smuggled dozens of documents that could
be incriminating evidence outside his office days before he was
apprehended, the prosecution has claimed based on phone conversations
monitored by the police.

The prosecution now says a senior lieutenant, Muhammed Sarýkaya,
for whom a search and arrest warrant was issued by a court on Jan. 6,
organized an operation to wipe out all evidence the investigators might
find in his room located inside the Guvercinlik Gendarmerie Rangers
Private Safety Operations Battalion Command facilities in Ankara. On
Jan. 7, the police arrived at the premises with a search warrant
issued by a court; however, the officers and the accompanying public
prosecutor were kept waiting at the gate by the guards for a long time.

Transcripts of phone conversations between the guards at the gate
and Sarýkaya show that the officials immediately called the senior
lieutenant, asking him to destroy military paperwork and other
classified documents immediately, starting with any files that might
be on his laptop.

The first phone call made to Sarýkaya on that day is, however, not
from the guards, but from another senior lieutenant, Noyan Pamukcu,
who told him that a search warrant had been issued in his name and
that he should meet with him immediately. This was at a time when
Sarýkaya was waiting for a medical report required for him to be
assigned to a post abroad.

In a phone conversation that begins at 10:56 a.m. on Jan. 7, Pamukcu
said: "Brother, rush to the guesthouse as fast as you can. I can’t
tell you now, this is more important than the report. I will send
you a message. Leave the report alone, and get here as fast as you
can. I’ll see you outside."

At 10:58, Pamukcu sent a message to Sarýkaya in which he said: "A
judge has ordered a search of your room. Is there anything on your
laptop? This is serious. Don’t use your phone. Call me at 050054347xx
using someone else’s phone."

At 11:08, another warning came from another friend, Ramazan Bulut,
who called Sarýkaya and suggested he destroy every document on his
laptop, or any other illegal or classified document, and leave the
laptop in someone else’s car if need be. Bulut said: "Don’t ask me
what’s going on, OK? Go to your room, and things like your laptop or
military publications or banned publications, go there, get those
out and come back to the battalion. Get your laptop out, leave it
in someone else’s car and then get here as fast as you can. I’ll see
you when you get here."

Bulut is also the officer who met the public prosecutor who arrived
at the military facility to search Sarýkaya’s room.

Police records show that Sarýkaya, who was supposed to be at a
hospital, was in his room during the search and that no documents
had been seized by the police on his laptop or in his room during
the search.

Public prosecutor Mehmet Murat Yonder on Feb. 23, started a probe into
Sarýkaya, Bulut and Pamukcu on charges of "destroying, obstructing
or hiding evidence of a crime." Yonder later ruled the investigation
outside his jurisdiction and referred the case to military prosecutors.

Sarýkaya was arrested on Jan. 10 as part of the Ergenekon
investigation. Bulut and Pamukcu continue to serve in their previous
positions.

Allegations against Sarýkaya Sarýkaya is accused in the third
Ergenekon indictment of being the leader of death squads formed by the
organization to assassinate important minority group leaders and other
public figures, including the head of the Alevi-Bektaþi Federation,
Ali Balkýz, and the spiritual leader of Turkey’s Armenian community,
Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan.

In a document titled "The Intimidation Plan" found in the home of
Ergenekon suspect Ýbrahim Þahin, who is accused of establishing
death squads for Ergenekon using the military’s resources, Sarýkaya
is listed as the leader of cell number four.

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