Witness: Ergenekon involved in Feb. 28 post-modern coup

Half-military, half-civilian MGK called upon the government to adhere to Atatürk's "secular principles" and to adopt some 20 recommendations, forcing Erbakan to resign on Feb. 28, 1997.

Witness: Ergenekon involved in Feb. 28 post-modern coup

The Ergenekon terrorist organization, whose members are facing various charges over trying to topple the government, was deeply involved in the psychological dimension of the non-armed military intervention of 1997, commonly referred to as "the Feb. 28 process."

In the run-up to the Feb. 28 process, Ergenekon was involved in creating the right atmosphere to curb the rise of the religiously minded Welfare Party (RP), which has since been shut down by the Constitutional Court, the Yeni Şafak daily claimed yesterday. The report, based on the daily's interview with an unnamed witness, who also testified as part of an investigation into Ergenekon, says many scandals involving leaders of religious groups have actually been the result of elaborate and complex schemes devised by the group's members.

One scandal that shook Turkey in late 1996 involved Müslüm Gündüz, a noted leader of the Aczimendi brotherhood well known for his anti-secularism. He was arrested by police on Dec. 28, 1996 in an İstanbul house where he was found in bed with a 22-year-old female student, Fadime Şahin. The sting produced further allegations from Şahin of being used for other group leaders' sexual pleasure. She claimed to have first been approached by the Fatih-based Ali Kalkıncı, whom she considered a "religious savior."

The young woman's confessions stirred debate among the public and were followed by another scandal, involving Emire Kalkancı, the wife of Ali Kalkıncı, who announced that her husband had investments that were supported by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was the mayor of İstanbul at the time and a member of the RP; by Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, also from the RP; and the mayor of İzmir, who came from the True Path Party (DYP), a coalition partner at the time.

The secret witness said this scandal was purposefully plotted to create distrust in religious leaders among the public. The idea came from Veli Küçük, a former general who is currently in jail, accused of being one of the leaders of Ergenekon. Businessman Turgut Büyükdağ agreed to finance the operation. Ümit Oğuztan, an author of pornographic books and former editor-in-chief of the Strategy monthly owned by Büyükdağ, famous transsexual Seyhan Soylu (known as Sisi) and Police Chief Ümit Bavbek secretly met at the office of the Strategy magazine to write the "script" and talk about its details. The group picked Gündüz and Kalkancı as the main actors of the scheme. Şahin, working as a call girl at an entertainment facility, was hired for a large sum of money. Sisi and Oğuztan coached Şahin in her new role, according to the witness, and introduced her into the Aczimendi brotherhood. The group also provided religious training for Ali Kalkancı, who was reportedly unemployed at the time as well as an alcoholic. It sent him on hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, after which he became a high-ranking member of the brotherhood. The group also used information they had on the suspicious dealings of a factory owner to force him to marry his daughter off to Kalkancı.

In December 1996, which coincided with the month of Ramadan, a holy month in which Muslims abstain from food and drink, newspapers in Turkey published pieces on the relationship between Şahin and the Aczimendi leader. Emire Kalkancı, the daughter of a well-known businessman, also featured in headlines for days.

These developments were followed by the military's decision to roll tanks through Ankara's Sincan district, where in late January the Iranian ambassador and the mayor of Sincan, a member of the RP, staged an anti-Zionist, anti-Arafat, pro-Shariah protest called the "Jerusalem Night." Newspaper articles at the time focused on stories of rising Islamic fundamentalism. The military was distrustful of the RP and its prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan, according to the witness. On Feb. 28, 1997 the half-military, half-civilian National Security Council (MGK) called upon the RP-DYP coalition government to adhere to Atatürk's "democratic, secular principles" and, to that end, to adopt some 20 recommendations, forcing Erbakan to resign.

Another complex con operation in the making

During the Ergenekon investigation, documents acquired during raids into suspects' homes and offices have proven that Ergun Poyraz, the author of anti-government books and a suspect in the Ergenekon investigation, was paid regularly by an illegal and illegitimate intelligence agency of the gendarmerie forces called JİTEM, whose existence has been denied officially. JİTEM was set up and run by Ergenekon members, the investigation has shown.

A bill found in the home of Workers' Party (İP) leader Doğu Perinçek, also currently in jail pending trial as an Ergenekon suspect, shows that Poyraz was paid YTL 1,000 in the summer of 2004 and YTL 850 plus $250 from the gendarmerie command intelligence department's funds. The documents were approved by retired Col. Atilla Uğur, a detained suspect in the Ergenekon investigation, and retired senior Gen. Levent Ersöz, who has fled the country and is currently being sought by Ergenekon prosecutors. The documents show that Poyraz, a self-styled researcher-writer, was paid in return for "intelligence research."

Poyraz is the author of many books harshly critical of various Islamist movements in Turkey as well as the author of the book "The Children of Moses" (a phrase used to refer to President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and former Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç). His "The Real Face of the Welfare Party" was used as evidence of the party's anti-secularist activities in a court case against the party, and his "The Broken Bulb" was used as evidence against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which narrowly escaped closure over anti-secularism allegations by the Constitutional Court last month.

Interview with Sisi

In an interview with Today's Zaman, Sisi, a transsexual journalist who was part of the con operation of Feb. 28, admitted that she personally knew Veli Küçük but said she had only met Turgut Büyükdağ once as he was the boss of the journal where she worked as a general coordinator. "Veli Küçük Paşa is a very special person whose door is open to everyone; even drug addicts from the street could freely walk in and speak with him," Sisi said of the prime suspect in the Ergenekon investigation.

She said she hadn't seen Büyükdağ for nearly three years but accused him of leaving her during the chaos that ensued after the collapse of the government on Feb. 28. She also said Kalkancı nowadays has established a new Internet-based sect and has close to 5,000 disciples.

From Ümraniye to Ergenekon

The existence of Ergenekon, a behind-the-scenes network attempting to use social and psychological engineering to shape the country in accordance to its own ultranationalist ideology, has long been suspected, but the current investigation into the group began only in 2007, when a house in İstanbul's Ümraniye district, being used as an arms depot, was discovered by the police. The investigation was expanded to reveal elements of what in Turkey is called the "deep state," finally proving the existence of the network, which is currently being accused of trying to incite chaos and disorder in order to trigger a coup against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government. The indictment, made public last month, indicates that Ergenekon was behind a series of political assassinations over the past two decades. The group is also suspected of being behind the murder of Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist killed by a teenager in 2007.

Eighty-six suspects, 47 of whom are currently under arrest, are accused of having suspicious links to the gang. Suspects will start appearing before the court on Oct. 20 and will face accusations that include "membership in an armed terrorist group," "attempting to bring down the government," "inciting people to rebel against the Republic of Turkey" and other similar crimes.

Today's Zaman

Last Mod: 08 Ağustos 2008, 23:08
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