"There are three bases to the [organized] gang. First is the police, second is the [state] bureaucrats and third is the military. We can question the police and some of bureaucrats, but we cannot question the military."
~ Mehmet Elkatmış, Chairman, Susurluk Commission.
~ Mehmet Elkatmış, Chairman, Susurluk Commission.
The most interesting news of the day comes from Bianet:
Retired Major General Veli Kücük, nationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, lawyer Fuat Turgut, who is the defense lawyer of Yasin Hayal, a murder suspect in the Hrant Dink case, Aksam newspaper journalist Güler Kömürcü, retired Colonel Fikri Karadag, who is the leader of the ultra-nationalist Kuvayi Milliye Association, and Turkish Orthodox Patriarchy spokesperson Sevgi Erenerol, are under police custody.
All 33 taken from their homes on Tuesday (22 January) are charged with forming a clandestine group to plot against the government, and attempts at the lives of Kurdish politicians, as well as storing weapons in a secret arsenal.
That's right, folks, the Ergenekon gang is in police detention. The news appeared in Turkish online media late last night, US time, but it may have only a brief appearance, as noted in the Bianet article:
According to the NTV news, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecution made a written statement about the detentions and then immediately announced a broadcasting and publishing ban on the case.
It's this ban that tells us we should not expect too much from this so-called "operation." If they're ordering censorship about the case, it means that there is something to hide on the part of the government. However, one should remember Veli Küçük in connection with the Susurluk scandal, as a close associate of the notorious Grey Wolf, Abdullah Çatlı and the infamous Turkish state assassin, Mahmut Yıldırım, aka Yeşil. Küçük was also named in connection with the 2006 Council of State attack and with Hrant Dink's murder. For a roundup of Küçük's crimes, see a Rastî post from last year.
Zaman has more about what Küçük and the rest of the Ergenekon gang has been up to:
The gang was plotting to kill Nobel Literature Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk and had already hired the hit man to do the job, the investigation found. Thirty-three suspects accused of being part of the gang, which calls itself Ergenekon, were detained by the İstanbul Police Department's counterterrorism unit in İstanbul and other parts of the country in dawn raids on Tuesday, the culmination of an eight-month operation. The police have been observing the actions of the suspects for three-quarters of a year as part of an investigation into a house full of explosives and ammunition found in a shantytown in İstanbul's Ümraniye district in the June of 2007.
The investigation has found that the gang is linked to a clandestine phenomenon referred to as the "deep state" in Turkey that stages attacks using "behind-the-scene" paramilitary organizations such as Ergenekon to foment public opinion according its own political agenda. Ergenekon is the title of a legend that describes how Turks came into existence.
This particular gang is suspected of involvement in a number of political attacks on individuals and institutions, including the murder of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. At least eight of the suspects are retired from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
The suspects, who include retired military generals, journalists and underground bosses, have not yet been charged and are still under interrogation, but the police found a list of people the gang had planned to assassinate, including pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputies Ahmet Türk, Leyla Zana and Sebahat Tuncel; Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir; Nobel Prize-winning author Pamuk; and journalist Fehmi Koru, who is also a regular columnist for Today's Zaman.
Khaleej Times adds a little more information:
Police are also investigating whether the suspects were involved in several politically motivated attacks that shocked Turkey over the past two years, the daily Sabah said.
They include the murders of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, Italian Catholic priest Andrea Santoro and a senior judge killed by a gunman who stormed into the country’s top administrative court, the daily said.
And, in what may be a very felicitous coincidence, Martin Lee--who's done more to expose the Deep State, Grey Wolves, and the likes of Veli Küçük, in English than anyone else--may now be connecting Sibel Edmonds' case about the Deep State criminals in the US with the Deep State criminals in Turkey. At least Consortium News, which ran Lee's original article on the Deep State in 1997, feels it's necessary to run the article again to give some background context to Sibel's story. From Consortium News, "Turkey's Drug-Terrorism Connection":
Edmonds, who left the FBI in 2002, said she stumbled upon this corrupt network – which also may have involved money laundering and drug trafficking – when she was hired after the 9/11 attacks to translate a backlog of tapes dating back to 1997.
That was the same year when Consortiumnews.com published a remarkable story by Martin A. Lee about Turkish government officials caught in a web of corruption with notorious drug traffickers and right-wing terrorists.
In view of the Sunday Times article and a follow-up on Jan. 20, we are republishing our earlier story to provide historical context for Edmonds’s allegations:
In broad daylight on May 2, 1997, 50 armed men set upon a television station in Istanbul with gunfire. The attackers unleashed a fusillade of bullets and shouted slogans supporting Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Tansu Ciller.
The gunmen were outraged over the station's broadcast of a TV report critical of Ciller, a close U.S. ally who had come under criticism for stonewalling investigations into collusion between state security forces and Turkish criminal elements.
Miraculously, no one was injured in the attack, but the headquarters of Independent Flash TV were left pock-marked with bullet-holes and smashed windows. The gunfire also sent an unmistakable message to Turkish journalists and legislators: don't challenge Ciller and other high-level Turkish officials when they cover up state secrets.
For several months, Turkey had been awash in dramatic disclosures connecting high Turkish officials to the right-wing Grey Wolves, the terrorist band which has preyed on the region for years. In 1981, a terrorist from the Grey Wolves attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in Vatican City.
But at the center of the mushrooming Turkish scandal is whether Turkey, a strategically placed NATO country, allowed mafiosi and right-wing extremists to operate death squads and to smuggle drugs with impunity. A Turkish parliamentary commission is investigating these new charges.
The rupture of state secrets in Turkey also could release clues to other major Cold War mysteries. Besides the attempted papal assassination, the Turkish disclosures could shed light on the collapse of the Vatican bank in 1982 and the operation of a clandestine pipeline that pumped sophisticated military hardware into the Middle East -- apparently from NATO stockpiles in Europe -- in exchange for heroin sold by the Mafia in the United States.
Read the rest at Consortium News.