Ergenekon visit reminds of dark files army allegedly involved in

Many analysts say that the TSK's visit to the Ergenekon suspects is similar to the Şemdinli case and that the army is giving the message of "we know them, they are good boys."

Ergenekon visit reminds of dark files army allegedly involved in

A visit by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to two suspects in the Ergenekon terrorist organization case, retired Gen. Şener Eruygur and retired Gen. Hurşit Tolon, was reminiscent of some former cases -- one of them being an assassination of a prominent journalist in Cyprus, the other the disputed Şemdinli case as well as a letter from Tolon asking about "the ones outside [of prison]."

Commander Lt. Gen. Galip Mendi paid a visit on Wednesday to Kandıra Prison inmates Eruygur and Tolon, who have been under arrest since July for alleged involvement in the Ergenekon terrorist organization, which is accused of orchestrating various murders and attacks with the intention of creating chaos that would trigger a coup.

The Web site of the General Staff declared yesterday that the visit was made on behalf of the TSK. "As is known, today, as in the past, the TSK fully respects and trusts the judiciary," the statement claimed.

The Ergenekon case will start in October and its indictment was presented to the court, although Tolon and Eruygur were not mentioned in it since they were arrested months after the first arrests. It is expected that an additional indictment will be presented for Tolon and Eruygur as well as other suspects. While the country discussed the visit, several old cases were cited, including the assassination of prominent journalist Kutlu Adalı in Northern Cyprus in July 1996. Mendi, the TSK envoy to the terror suspects, was allegedly involved with this assassination. He was questioned by the European Court of Human Rights during the Adalı vs. Turkey case, in which Turkey was found guilty. İlkay Adalı, the wife of journalist Adalı, told Today's Zaman that her husband was killed because of his articles about the Civil Defense Organization, whose top commander at the time was Mendi.

The Civil Defense Organization of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) is listed as a "humanitarian organization" under KKTC laws. It was established to help people in cases of disaster, including wars, and its head can be a civil or a military person, but the leader is traditionally sent from Turkey and comes from the ranks of the TSK, as was also the case with Mendi.

According to İlkay Adalı, her husband in one of his articles claimed that on March 15, 1996 armed men raided the St. Barnabas monastery museum in Famagusta and robbed it. Adalı claimed that one of the cars used in the raid belonged to the Civil Defense Organization and that arms used in the raid were very modern. He wrote that there were rumors of a Turkish colonel who was in Cyprus during the 1974 intervention and that this colonel had buried large amounts of loot in St. Barnabas' grave. The robbers were allegedly friends of this former colonel and were looking for the loot.

According to İlkay Adalı, her husband received threatening calls after this article was published. Mendi, in his testimony to the European court, accepted that he had called the newspaper for which Adalı was working but denied threatening him.

According to the European court, Mendi told the court that his organization was not involved in Adalı's murder.

"The witness [Mendi] claimed that the St. Barnabas incident had in no way been connected to the Civil Defense Organization. It was an anti-terrorist operation carried out by the peace forces command at the time. Thus, allegations that the Civil Defense Organization was involved in the St. Barnabas incident were untrue. The witness pointed out that these allegations stemmed from the fact that his organization had allocated a civilian car to the peace forces, who wore official uniforms, for an operation conducted against the [terrorist] Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK]. Apart from the allocation of a car, the Civil Defense Organization had not intervened in any activity connected with the St. Barnabas incident," the documents of the European court note.

When Adalı was murdered, according to the documents of the European court, there were some claims about the presence of Abdullah Çatlı on the island and his involved in the murder.

Çatlı was an ultranationalist and a mafia leader with an international police warrant who died in the Susurluk accident, which took place on Nov. 4, 1996 and revealed suspicious links between politicians, the mafia and security forces. Many names involved with Susurluk are currently suspects in the Ergenekon case, including retired Gen. Veli Küçük. According to claims put forth by police officers employed in Susurluk in 1996, Küçük sent Sami Hoştan, a drug trafficker also detained on alleged ties to Ergenekon, to pick up Çatlı's dead body.

Will Şemdinli repeat itself?

The Susurluk case for the first time very openly revealed that some people who use the "power of the state" and the pretext of "fighting against terrorism" or "love for the country" are involved in illegal activity, including murder and drug trafficking. Another case in which the "deep state" was involved was the Şemdinli case. Şemdinli is a city in the province of Hakkari where two non-commissioned officers and a PKK informant were caught bombing a bookstore owned by a former member of the PKK.

Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt, the then-land forces commander who had since been promoted to chief of general staff and recently retired, told the court hearing the trial of the suspects in the bombing: "I know them [the two non-commissioned officers]. They are good boys." A prosecutor from Van province who was investigating the Şemdinli case, Ferhat Sarıkaya, started a number of investigations into top army commanders, including Büyükanıt, but was subsequently disbarred by the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges (HSYK). The perpetrators were never punished.

Many analysts say that the TSK's visit to the Ergenekon suspects is similar to the Şemdinli case and that the army is giving the message of "we know them, they are good boys." Yeni Şafak daily's Ali Bayramoğlu pointed out the similarities between the two cases and said that this time military policies which harmed democracy are at the point where they need to be judged, unlike what happened in the Şemdinli case.

Ümit Kardaş, a retired military judge, also compared this situation to that of the Şemdinli case and said that after this visit there is a risk of "repeating the Şemdinli case."

"This visit can affect the judiciary. Büyükanıt's statement in the Şemdinli case changed the direction of the case at that time and the same risk exists for Ergenekon now. After this visit I am less hopeful that links to Ergenekon will be found out," Kardaş pointed out.

Tolon's letter

Kardaş also added that one of the reasons of this visit might be to convey messages from prison to the outside.

"During the Susurluk case, suspects sent messages indicating that they might reveal everything that they know about some important persons if they were not protected. Actually, these kinds of things frequently happens in such cases," Kardaş said.

Tolon recently wrote a letter to a journalist in which he claimed that they were fine and honorable in prison but "what about some others outside, what is their situation?"

In the same letter he said that he was wondering who will protect their honor, which was tarnished by campaigns against them, adding that "if they want, we can support 'the poor ones.'"

Today's Zaman

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Eylül 2008, 08:40