World Bulletin/News Desk
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has approved a request from the judicial authorities to try National Intelligence Organization (MİT) official Özel Yılmaz, who is accused by prosecutors of being a member of the Ergenekon group.
Ergenekon is a clandestine organization whose suspected members are charged with plotting to overthrow the government. Most of them are military, but there are individuals from many different backgrounds, including the media.
Yılmaz first came under the spotlight shortly after the death of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007, when several witnesses claimed that he had summoned Dink to the İstanbul Governor's Office in 2004, where he hurled threats at the journalist, telling Dink to be careful about what he was writing about the 1915 incidents against Armenians. There were also claims that Yılmaz actively helped Bedrettin Dalan, former İstanbul mayor and Ergenekon suspect at large, to flee the country.
The Prime Ministry on May 6 approved a demand from the judicial bodies to try Yılmaz.
On Thursday, the 298th hearing of the Ergenekon trial was heard by the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The presiding judge, Hasan Hüseyin Özese, said that the prime ministry had approved of Yılmaz being brought to court.
Last year, the government adopted a regulation making it necessary to obtain permission from the Prime Ministry to try MİT members.
Several suspects gave their defense testimonies in Thursday's session of the trial. One of the suspects was journalist Tuncay Özkan, who denied any links to Ergenekon. In response to a question regarding his familiarity with one of the accused generals, Özkan said as a journalist, he interacted with a wide range of societal segments and knew people from different backgrounds.Last Mod: 17 Mayıs 2013, 16:50