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01:56, 23 June 2018 Saturday
Update: 17:45, 24 May 2011 Tuesday

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Secret witness: Cihaner hoped chaos would reign Erzincan
Secret witness: Cihaner hoped chaos would reign Erzincan

The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court continued to listen to a secret witness in the case on Tuesday.

A secret witness in a case into a subversive military plot to undermine the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the faith-based Gülen movement told an İstanbul court hearing the case that the former chief prosecutor in Erzincan, who is also an Ergenekon suspect, hoped tension in the province would increase through acts of terror and violence.

The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court continued to listen to a secret witness in the case on Tuesday.

The witness started testifying to judges at the court on Monday. The case concerns the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism, a military plot to destroy the image of the AK Party and the Gülen movement in the eyes of the public, to play down the Ergenekon investigation and to gather support for members of the military arrested as part of the investigation into Ergenekon.

Col. Dursun Çiçek, who is currently under arrest, is the prime suspect in the case. Lawyer Serdar Öztürk and the former editor-in-chief of the ultranationalist Aydınlık magazine, Deniz Yıldırım, are also among the suspects.

A secret witness, identified by the codename Efe, told the judges that high-profile but illegal meetings were held in Erzincan during which members of the military, businessmen and members of political parties discussed ongoing developments in Turkey. "The meetings were chaired by Cihaner. Cihaner gave orders for acts [of violence] that sought to foment chaos in society," the witness claimed. Efe, however, did not specify when the meetings took place.

Cihaner is currently a deputy candidate from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). If he is elected in the June 12 general elections, he will avoid trial for the next four years thanks to parliamentary immunity.

Cihaner was arrested last year on charges of membership in Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network accused of working to overthrow the government. He was also accused of efforts to put into operation the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism in Erzincan.

"During the meetings I attended, I heard Cihaner saying tension [in Turkey] should be increased and acts of terror should be on the rise. There were groups with conflicting ideologies at Erzincan University. Some students were Kurdish, and some others were Turkish nationalists. Cihaner asked the leader of the Turkish nationalists [at the university] to raid a café [where there were Kurdish students]. The request worked, and the café was raided twice. And he [Cihaner] asked Kurdish students to urge Kurdish nationalists to throw stones at Turkish nationalists in the streets. ... Cihaner was hoping to increase tension in Erzincan with acts of violence and terror," Efe noted.

Additionally, Efe told the judges that he saw Col. Çiçek during a meeting held in Erzincan by 15 colonels to discuss preparations for a military takeover. "Çiçek stayed at the Konak Mazlum Hotel. Cihaner was not able to delete the hotel records, so he found a man with the same name and surname as Çiçek and pretended it was that man who stayed at the hotel during the coup meeting." There were earlier news reports that Col. Çiçek was in Erzincan during a coup meeting there, but the colonel denied the reports, saying he was not the man who stayed at the hotel.

According to Efe, Gen. Mustafa Bakıcı was also among participants in the coup meeting.

During his testimony on Monday, Efe told the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court that a pro-coup group nested within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) plotted to overthrow the AK Party either after the 2009 municipal elections or before the June 2011 elections.

According to Efe, he was one of the participants in a seminar held by the 3rd Army and Gen. Saldıray Berk, who is also a high-profile suspect in the Ergenekon investigation.

The seminar was held at the beginning of 2009. Participants in the seminar made a few decisions, including plans for a military coup. According to the decisions, a junta nested within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) would stage a coup d'état after the 2009 municipal elections if the AK Party emerged victorious in the elections. If the plan failed, the junta would stage a coup before the 2011 elections provided that opinion polls suggested that the AK Party would garner huge public support in the elections.

Cihan news agency

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