Turk MP to ask Parliament probe for coup attempts

Turkish prosecutors showed disinterest in filing charges against military officers after efforts by a number of individuals and groups to investigate military coup plans in Turkey.

Turk MP to ask Parliament probe for coup attempts
An independent deputy plans to ask Parliament later this week to investigate coup attempts after efforts by a number of individuals and groups to investigate military coup plans in Turkey yielded no results and prosecutors showed disinterest in filing charges against military officers.

Ufuk Uras, the Freedom and Solidarity Party's (ÖDP) sole deputy in Parliament, is in search of supporters to present a motion to the legislature.

Even though a number of individuals and groups filed criminal complaints with the Ankara Prosecutor's Office, no investigations have been launched into the now-closed Nokta newsweekly's report, which published parts of a journal allegedly belonging to former military commander Adm. Özden Örnek, who recorded every detail about the plan by Land Forces commander Gen. Aytaç Yalman, Air Forces commander Gen. İbrahim Fırtına and Gendarmerie commander Gen. Şener Eruygur to stage coups in 2004 when they were still in the military.

Emrullah Beytar, a lawyer with the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUM-DER), said their complaint was sent to the military prosecutor's office by the civil court on the grounds that allegations were against military personnel and not civilians.

"However, we said in our complaint that there were plans to suspend the country's constitutional order, and this is not under the jurisdiction of the military court because this is not a military crime; this is an infringement of the Constitution. Whoever is guilty of this should be tried in civilian courts," Beytar said in a phone interview from Ankara with Today's Zaman.

Beytar said the military penal code does not address violating the Constitution but is concerned with disciplinary matters.

Due to these commanders' alleged unprofessional conduct, Beytar said, a lawsuit was filed with the military prosecutor's office separately, though it faces a number of hurdles.

"Officials from the military prosecutor's office told us no action to address the suit had been taken as of yet," Beytar said.

Ahmet Gündel is another concerned citizen filing criminal charges against top commanders following Nokta magazine's revelations.

"The Ankara Prosecutor's Office combined my file with that of MAZLUM-DER. Without any investigation, they sent it to the military's offices. I also asked to be informed about what is being done, but they have yet to send me any information," Gündel said.

Citing the Temdinli case, Gündel said the fate of the Temdinli prosecutor is telling: "Look at what happened to Ferhat Sarıkaya. He was disbarred after he indicted then-Land Forces commander Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt [on charges of trying to influence the judiciary by praising one defendant in an ongoing case]. The military is powerful in Turkey, and the military's interference in Turkish politics has a long tradition in the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK]. You cannot even think of indicting a top general, let alone start an investigation into his acts."

Sacit Kayasu is another victim of being a responsible prosecutor. Kayasu was fired because he asked the State Security Court (DGM) in Ankara to punish Kenan Evren, the leader of the Sept. 12, 1982 coup.

"Could a prosecutor be punished for doing his or her duty? The reason given for Sarıkaya's punishment was a supposed technical error he had made in the indictment. I did not make any technical error in my indictment. Being disbarred is a heavy punishment," Kayasu said.

Kayasu, who became a prosecutor after working as a lawyer for 12 years, said prosecutors today are either concerned about losing their jobs or are biased toward the status quo.

He pointed to recent research conducted by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) which revealed that prosecutors in Turkey have mostly been concerned about protecting the values of the state rather than those of individuals.

Law professor Mithat Sancar, a co-author of the TESEV report, said a state prosecutor should be able to open an investigation without the need for further evidence as Nokta magazine's story is sufficient.

"The process should have been automatic. Planning a coup d'état is one of the worst crimes; it is not part of a commander's military duty," he added.

Meanwhile, Alper Görmüt, the former Nokta editor-in-chief who exposed the alleged coup plot last year, was indicted for libel against Adm. Örnek, the alleged owner of the journal.

Örnek, who has reportedly kept a journal since 1957, is said to have recorded details about the former military commanders' plan to stage a coup, codenamed "Blonde Girl," in 2004, but the plans were abandoned because the plotters could not find support in the lower ranks of the military, the US attitude at the time and the democratic stance of then-Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Özkök.

The journal, published by Nokta, suggested that Gendarmerie commander Gen. Eruygur then planned a coup by himself, codenamed "Moonlight."

Eventually, Nokta's owner shut the magazine down after a police raid of its offices following the journal's publication.

Görmüt had been facing one to six years in prison but was recently acquitted of charges of libel. However, he is not happy about his acquittal because there has been no investigation into his revelations in Nokta and he is getting ready to make an appeal for the court to delve further into the case.

Even though Örnek denied that the journal published by Nokta belonged to him, a technical investigation conducted by police information technology experts as part of the ongoing Ergenekon operation, a probe into an illegal neo-nationalist deep-state group known as Ergenekon, has determined that the digital excerpts were initially copied from a computer at the naval forces headquarters.

According to unconfirmed reports, the Ergenekon gang was rumored to be planning a 2009 coup against the government and has links to some influential active generals.

Critics note unprecedented developments after legal action against the Ergenekon gang was taken such as the closure case against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on the grounds that it has become a focal point of anti-secular activities.

Politicians outside the AK Party, including the ÖDP's Uras, suspect there might be a reason the case came shortly after police unearthed the criminal organization and detained dozens of people with links to the military.

The process is reminiscent of the Feb. 28 period, which led to the resignation of then-Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan in 1997, dubbed the "post-modern" coup, which began shortly after the names of some of the people detained were first made public in the course of a parliamentary inquiry into another scandal, the Susurluk affair, which revealed deep state ties to the security forces and politicians.

Today's Zaman
Last Mod: 06 Mayıs 2008, 07:51
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