World Bulletin / News Desk
An İstanbul court hearing the trial into Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network alleged to have links within the state and suspected of plotting to topple the government, has decided to hear evidence from former National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Şenkal Atasagun as part of the investigation.
The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court decided to hear the testimony of Atasagun during its 233rd hearing, held on Monday, as part of the Ergenekon coup case in response to requests from the lawyers of Ergenekon suspects.
The court also decided to hear the testimonies of retired Gen. Teoman Koman, Police Chief Ahmet İhtiyaroğlu, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) İstanbul deputy Şirin Ünal, Republican People's Party (CHP) Ankara deputy Emrehan Halıcı and Milliyet daily columnist Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, as part of an ongoing investigation into the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military intervention, popularly known as a postmodern coup. All will give testimonies as witnesses.
Thirty-nine Ergenekon suspects were present at the 233rd hearing. Retired Brig. Gen. Veli Küçük, considered one of the most important suspects in the trial against Ergenekon, retired Capt. Muzaffer Tekin and former İnönü University Rector Fatih Hilmioğlu attended the hearing.
Five suspects, CHP deputy Mustafa Balbay, journalist Tuncay Özkan and Workers' Party (İP) leader Doğu Perinçek, İP İstanbul branch Chairman Erkan Önsel and retired noncommissioned officer Oktay Yıldırım were not present at the hearing because they were all banned from attending Ergenekon hearings during a hearing that was held on Sept. 18. Former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, CHP deputy Mehmet Haberal and retired Gen. Levent Ersöz also did not attend the hearing on Monday.
The first investigation into the organization was launched on June 12, 2007, when 27 hand grenades were seized from a house in İstanbul's Ümraniye district belonging to Oktay Yıldırım, who is currently under arrest in relation to the case. However, the name of “Ergenekon” came to light after retired Brig. Gen. Küçük was detained in January 2008. Some documents regarding the structure of the organization were seized from Küçük's house during police raids. The initial hearing in the first Ergenekon case started at the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court on Oct. 28, 2008.