Turkish journalists call for probe over 'assassination list'

The journalists would have been killed due to their expected opposition to a planned coup, namely the Sledgehammer Security Operation Plan.

Turkish journalists call for probe over 'assassination list'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Journalists whose names appear on a “to be assassinated” list -- allegedly prepared in 2003 by a junta nested within the armed forces -- have asked civilian prosecutors to increase efforts to shed light on Turkey's dark past and the deep state so that Turkey's democracy can really improve.

The journalists would have been killed due to their expected opposition to a planned coup, namely the Sledgehammer Security Operation Plan.

“Now that we have seen the ‘to be assassinated' list we have come to realize once again the existence of a ‘deep Turkey.' There are rumors that preparations for a coup d'état began in 2002. If we are still talking about a coup in 2011, then the thesis that a ‘deep Turkey' exists is correct,” stated Ahmet Taşgetiren, a columnist for the Bugün daily.

The assassination list -- drawn up in 2003 -- was found among a large number of confidential documents seized from the Gölcük Naval Command in early December. The documents are mainly related to the Sledgehammer case. Sledgehammer mentions a systematic plan by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to create chaos in society through acts of violence. The desired result was a military coup against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.

"Death threats"

In the list are many leading intellectuals in Turkey, including slain Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink. Among other “targets” of the junta were Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, Bugün columnist Taşgetiren, Sabah columnist Nazlı Ilıcak, Star columnist Professor Mehmet Altan, Milliyet columnist Taha Akyol, Bugün columnist Toktamış Ateş and former Yeni Şafak columnist Fehmi Koru.

“Turkey should take Sledgehammer seriously. The deep structure nested within the state should be exposed with all details. The government, Parliament, the police force and the National Intelligence Organization [MİT] should cooperate to that effect. Ongoing cases, including Ergenekon cases, have failed to shed full light on the entire deep state. It should be exposed through comprehensive cooperation,” Taşgetiren told Cihan news agency.

Star's Altan agreed, and added that he expects the Sledgehammer case to illuminate Turkey's coup-filled past. “Born-to-become murderers are nested within the state, and want to kill probable opponents of a planned coup. Coup plotters planned to kill me as they expected me to oppose a military takeover. I hope the [Sledgehammer] case will illuminate all darkness,” he noted.

The junta planned to assassinate their targets using professional gendarmes under separate action plans. One of the plans, titled Orak (Grass Hook), detailed killing Armenian members of the Turkish press. Among them were Dink, Zaman columnist Etyen Mahçupyan and Taraf columnist Sevan Nişanyan. Dink was gunned down on Jan. 19, 2007, in broad daylight in front of the headquarters of the bilingual Armenian weekly Agos, of which he was editor-in-chief.

Non-Muslim religious figures and businessmen were also to be killed under the Sakal (Beard) Plan. The targets were Bartholomew I, Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan and former Vatican representative George Marovic. Right of center intellectuals expected to stand against the planned coup, including Ilıcak, Koru, sociologist Ali Bulaç and Bugün columnist Ahmet Taşgetiren, were also to be killed under the Yumruk (Fist) plan. The Kürek (Spade) plan detailed the killing of left-wing figures such as Ateş, Milliyet columnist Hasan Cemal and Hürriyet columnist Cüneyt Ülsever. Anti-coup liberals Altan, Akyol, Yeni Şafak columnist Ali Bayramoğlu and Sabah columnist Mehmet Barlas were also to be assassinated in accordance with the Testere (Saw) Plan.

Nişanyan said he has received hundreds of death threats and believes that he is a name that the junta would really want to kill. “They [coup plotters] have to kill their targets. Our fight is to make them lose power, but not to prevent a planned coup. I believe that they will lose power and Turkey will become a really good part of the world if the government continues to be decisive [in its struggle against the junta and gangs],” he stated.

"End to debate"

Some other journalists on the “to be assassinated” list believe that new coup documents have brought an end to all debates over the authenticity of the Sledgehammer coup plan.

Critics of the Sledgehammer case have long argued that the coup documents were fabricated by enemies of the military who wished to discredit the armed forces in the eyes of the people. However, a report by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) suggested in June that all documents in the coup plan are original.

Sabah's Ilıcak said she is experienced enough not to believe that Sledgehammer documents are fabricated. She added that many documents were prepared to detail the coup, and then were called a “war game.” The columnist also said she is “happy” to be among the journalists who they believed would not cooperate with coup instigators. “I have been a victim of coups since May 27 [1960]. My father was arrested and tried along with his friends after the coup. I was jailed after the 1980 coup. In 1997 I was fired by the daily I was working for. In short, I have always been a victim of coups,” she stated.

According to Mahçupyan, Dink became a victim of coup plotters because his “circumstances” served their purpose. “Dink was the editor-in-chief of an Armenian weekly. He had close links to the Armenian patriarch. Therefore, it is not ‘meaningless' that they picked Dink as a target. The main aim with his assassination was to create an image that the West is the enemy of Turkey,” he said.


Last Mod: 21 Ocak 2011, 17:43
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