Ergenekon turns into soccer match, say analysts

Over the course of the Ergenekon investigation, Turkish police have already arrested 49 people on charges of inciting people to an armed uprising against the government and establishing, joining or leading a terrorist organization.

Ergenekon turns into soccer match, say analysts
The detention of two former senior generals believed to be linked to the Ergenekon network has been likened by a Western military officer to a soccer match, during which one of the teams seeks to score, rather than indicating any effort by Turkey's political leadership to go deep enough to settle scores with the country's deep state.

The first round of the fight between the deep state and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) took place with arrests early this year that included a retired general as well as retired colonels, academics, journalists and a political party leader over alleged ties to a gang known as Ergenekon, a Western military analyst close to Turkish affairs said in an interview with Today's Zaman.

Over the course of the Ergenekon investigation, Turkish police have already arrested 49 people on charges of inciting people to an armed uprising against the government and establishing, joining or leading a terrorist organization. The operations against the gang were initiated following the discovery of an arms depot in a house in the Ümraniye district of İstanbul in June 2007.

In a surprise move, retired Gen. Şener Eruygur, the former commander of the Gendarmerie General Command (JGK) and the head of the Atatürk Thought Association (ADD), retired Gen. Hurşit Tolun, former commander of the 1st Army, and some civilians were detained yesterday.

As this story went to print the reason for their detention had not been announced; however, the general belief is that the detentions are tied to the Ergenekon operation.

The Western military officer said the second round of the fight between the staunchly secular, military-led secular elite and the AK Party began when the chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals opened a case with the Constitutional Court for the closure of the AK Party and the banning of 71 current and former members, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül.

The third round, according to the official, was yesterday's detentions. The same official, however, complained that, in the meantime, there has been no indictment since the operations started almost a year ago, though many people are being held in prison. "This situation leaves an impression on me that the ruling AK Party is not seeking to settle scores with the deep state, but rather it is trying to embarrass it," the same source said.

Similarly, a former military prosecutor, Ümit Kardaş, told Today's Zaman that, from the way the Ergenekon affair has been handled, he had gotten the impression that the political leadership did not have the determination to launch a "Clean Hands" operation, like the one in Italy that unearthed a network of the mafia within the state.

"The AK Party appears to have been acting in line with the developments taking place against itself. Sometimes it takes a step forward and sometimes it takes a step back in the Ergenekon operations. Currently, I get the impression that Ergenekon has been used as a tool for a power struggle, rather than going deep into the illegal activities said to have been taking place within the state," he said.

Kardaş, acting as a lawyer for journalist Alper Görmüş, who was recently acquitted over charges of releasing the alleged diaries of former Naval Forces Commander Adm. Özden Örnek, recalled that the closure of the Örnek diary case, without any investigation into the truth behind the content of the diaries, is a clear example of the military pressure exerted upon the government. He added that the government bowed to those pressures.

Despite an İstanbul Police Department report that the diaries were leaked from Turkey's military headquarters, the court chose to cut the case short with an acquittal, Kardaş said.

But he has applied to the Supreme Court of Appeals for a reversal of the ruling of the İstanbul court, with the aim of ensuring that the case will be continued so that it can find clear evidence that the diaries belonged to Örnek.

The diaries contained information about two separate aborted military coups, one which was allegedly organized by Eruygur, who is currently being detained.

Last Mod: 02 Temmuz 2008, 08:00
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