Çukurova CEO says Ergenekon suspect asked him to rehire fellow defendant

Çukurova Holding CEO Mehmet Emin Karamehmet on Tuesday testified as a witness in a hearing at the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court as part of the trial into Ergenekon, a clandestine organization charged with plotting to overthrow the government,.

Çukurova CEO says Ergenekon suspect asked him to rehire fellow defendant

World Bulletin / News Desk

Çukurova Holding CEO Mehmet Emin Karamehmet on Tuesday testified as a witness in a hearing at the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court as part of the trial into Ergenekon, a clandestine organization charged with plotting to overthrow the government, saying that one of the prime suspects in the trial had requested that he rehire a journalist who quit his job at Show TV, a network owned by Çukurova Holding.

Karamehmet, in response to a question regarding his acquaintance with retired Gen. Levent Ersöz, the former head of the Gendarmerie Intelligence Department, stated: “I knew him by name earlier. I found out later [about his involvement in Ergenekon]."

He also said he knew one of the other suspects, retired Col. Atilla Uğur, as “Col. Kürşat.” He said he met with Uğur and Ersöz in 2002 at a gendarmerie facility to talk about Pamukbank, when the bank was about to be taken over by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK). “They asked me questions about Pamukbank. I answered their questions. They were both in uniforms.”

He also stated that Ersöz called him on the phone once to convince him to rehire Tuncay Özkan, another suspect in the investigation.

In response to a question from Prosecutor Mehmet Ali Pekgüzel regarding a meeting that allegedly took place on Dec. 16, 2003, between Özkan, Ersöz, Uğur and Karamehmet -- the transcript of which was found in gendarmerie reports -- Karamehmet denied that he participated in any such meeting.

In related developments, a doctor who secretly examined and treated former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit in 2001 at a time when the prime minister's family suspected that his regular doctors were intentionally keeping him unhealthy, said he was willing to testify in court about the incident he witnessed.

On Monday and Tuesday, Recai Birgün, Ecevit's primary bodyguard, also testified in the Ergenekon trial. Birgün claimed that a team of doctors at Başkent University Hospital intentionally mistreated Ecevit.

The former rector of Başkent University, Mehmet Haberal, is a key suspect in the investigation.

Birgün claims that the Ecevit family, acting on suspicions that Başkent University doctors were trying to keep Ecevit from attending state affairs and meetings, had another doctor see him in secret. Birgün says he and the family believe there were concerted efforts to overthrow the government at the time, adding that the doctors of Haberal's university were acting in accordance with those aims. However, he says he cannot tell if that organization is Ergenekon.

Following Birgün's statement, Mücahit Pehlivan, the doctor said to have treated Ecevit after the family's suspicions were aroused, spoke to Cihan news agency. He confirmed that he was asked to examine Ecevit during the night. “The first diagnosis I did was a broken rib, but I didn't think it was serious."

Pehlivan later said he introduced some changes to the treatment recommended by Başkent University doctors. “I didn't know anyone from the Democratic Left Party [DSP]. They wanted it to be done secretly. I found a fracture in his rib, but it wasn't a significant one. We usually leave those kinds of fractures to heal on their own. We don't even recommend bed rest in such situations. He had a steel corset, so we took it out. He was told not to leave the house. I told him to leave the house immediately. I told him to drive his car. He was suffering from advanced osteoporosis. He was given high dosages of cortisone, which caused the bones to fracture easily. When we stopped the treatment [recommended by Başkent], as everyone knows, he got better.”

He said that since a trial regarding allegations targeting other doctors is still ongoing, he did not wish to reveal the details of the treatment by Başkent University doctors. However, he says that he shares Birgün's opinion and claims that he is ready to share everything he knows in court, if asked to do so.

Pehlivan stated: “Mr. Prime Minister was unable to attend meetings that were important for the country. That caused the stock market to fall and the dollar to spike. In other words, someone was profiting from this. I also think there were political interests involved. … If the court wants my witness testimony, I will tell it everything I know.” He believes that a majority of the public was already convinced that there was “something fishy” about Ecevit's treatment at Başkent.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Mayıs 2012, 17:53

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