World Bulletin/News Desk
Documents retrieved from the hard disks of the General Staff have shown that the General Staff both acknowledges the existence of the National Strategies and Operations Department of Turkey (TUSHAD) and defines the organization as a “secret formation nested within the General Staff.”
TUSHAD has long been known as a clandestine organization within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), but the General Staff has denied its existence. The hard disks came from the computers of the Information and Support Unit of the General Staff and had been used between 2005 and 2009. Acting on a request from the court in mid-2012, the General Staff sent the disks to the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court, which is hearing a trial concerning anti-government websites allegedly established by the military. The disks were examined by a group of experts who then prepared a preliminary report on their findings. The report was sent to the court in December of last year.
According to documents retrieved from the hard disks, which feature the signatures of several senior military officials, TUSHAD was reorganized four times -- in 1995, 1999, 2004 and 2008. The formation carried out its activities until 2008. But after that it decided to withdraw for some time after destroying all [military] documents mentioning its existence following the waves of operations against suspected members of Ergenekon, suggested the documents.
Ergenekon is a clandestine criminal network which is accused of plotting a coup. Dozens of its members, including members of the military, businessmen and journalists, are currently on trial on charges of membership in Ergenekon.
Claims were raised in the past that the Zirve Publishing House massacre, in which three Christian publishers based in Malatya were brutally murdered in 2007, was organized by TUSHAD. The claims were later included in the indictment into the murders. According to the indictment, TUSHAD was established in 1993 by former four-star Gen. Hurşit Tolon, on instructions from the illegal Ergenekon organization, while Tolon was serving as secretary-general of the General Staff. The indictment also stated that the Zirve massacre was carried out by the Malatya cell of TUSHAD.
According to the indictment, efforts were made to transfer the blame for the murders to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and religiously conservative groups.
The General Staff documents state that members of TUSHAD should spread propaganda against non-Muslims in Turkey, especially against missionaries by alleging that they are working to provoke Alevi and Kurdish citizens against the Turkish state. “Tell people that missionaries want to divide Turkey,” reads one of the documents.
The documents also said TUSHAD should “maintain coordination and dialogue with JİTEM,” an illegal and clandestine network within the gendarmerie that was established to fight terrorism in the 1990s. JİTEM is believed to be responsible for thousands of murders and disappearances in the predominantly Kurdish east and southeast Turkey.Last Mod: 09 Mart 2013, 15:20