Thursday, January 08, 2009


"Since the Ergenekon case represents the advanced level of classical Turkish chaos, this is not a good time to start learning about Turkey unless you are experienced in this ‘lonely and beloved country’."
~ Ece Temelkuran.

Some weird shit--more weird than usual for Turkey--is going down with these recent detentions in the Ergenekon fiasco. They're going deeper into the Susurluk Affair, to include the "soft coup" of 1997:

In fact, the apprehension of former Special Police Operations Deputy Chief İbrahim Şahin, who served six years in jail for links to Susurluk, in the latest wave of detentions signaled that the Susurluk case will also be included in the Ergenekon investigation.

[ . . . ]

Meanwhile, the fact that 10 active officers -- five colonels, two majors and three captains -- were detained over their alleged links to the Ergenekon terrorist organization in this latest wave has served to strengthen the previous indictment, which established links between the group and some active officers within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

The indictment in question, which an İstanbul court accepted prior to opening the ongoing trial, read: "It has been understood both from the attached documents as well as from tapped telephone conversations that the Ergenekon terrorist organization has been engaged in secret organizational work within the TSK and that there have been members of this organization who come from the TSK, from the lowest to the highest ranking (officers)."

ARABASLIK Generals linked to Feb. 28 postmodern coup

The detention of three former generals and a number of civilians, including former Higher Education Board (YÖK) President Kemal Güriz, in the 10th wave of operations on Wednesday brought to the agenda their links with the Feb. 28, 1997 postmodern coup.

Several papers established the links of those detained on Wednesday with the Feb. 28 coup that resulted in the overthrow of an Islamic-oriented coalition government under then Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan.

This was the fourth military coup staged in Turkey since the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923. The fifth, and last, military intervention in Turkish politics came in 2007 in the form of an e-memo posted on the TSK's Web site.

What made the Feb. 28 intervention a postmodern one was the mobilization of an army of civilian allies who voluntarily defended the military over "fundamentalism" by evoking the reactions of the press and many nongovernmental organizations as well as YÖK and the judiciary.

The TSK carried out the aforementioned coups based on Article 35 of the Internal Service Law. The problem with Article 35 is that the authority designated to appoint the duty of protection and supervision is the TSK and not a civilian political authority.

There's more on the characters involved in this latest round of detentions at Zaman with information gleaned from Taraf. Check also another article at Zaman, in which it looks like AKP is going to go after the Kemalists under Article 288 of the Turkish penal code (TCK), which reads:

A person who explicitly makes a verbal or written declaration for the purpose of influencing the public prosecutor, judge, the court, expert witness or witnesses until the final judgment is given about an investigation or prosecution will be imprisoned for a term from six months to three years.

If this offence is committed through press or media, the penalty to be imposed shall be increased by one half.

The article has a small discussion of Büyükanıt's influence in the media over the Şemdinli bombing as an example. There's also a discussion of what legal experts are saying about Ergenekon at Hürriyet. Of note, also, is the meeting that the paşas held among themselves late Wednesday and Turkish chief of general staff Başbuğ met with Erdoğan for an hour and a half before his weekly meeting with Gül. Details, such as they are, from Reuters and the Guardian.

Reuters remarks:

Critics of the ruling AK Party say Erdogan's government is using the case as revenge for court moves by the secular establishment last year to outlaw the party for anti-secular activities. The AK Party denies any link.

And the Guardian quotes Gareth Jenkins:

Some analysts believe that yesterday's response shows its patience may be wearing thin. Gareth Jenkins, an Istanbul-based expert on Turkish security affairs, said: "The army will have issued a stern warning to the government to back off and that this has to be the last of such arrests. Most of those arrested on Wednesday were not involved in the Ergenekon plot.

"It was just a political move, and has destroyed any hope that the probe will find the real culprits. The question is what happens next. What we are going to see is a power struggle between two fundamentally undemocratic forces using their influence in the judicial system."

Another interesting thing about these recent detentions is the timing, which takes place as the Turkish media has stirred up a frenzy over the crisis in Gaza. Olmert visited Erdoğan and Gül on December 21. My money says Olmert told them about Israel's upcoming operations in Gaza. Here's a hint:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is visiting Turkey in order to discuss the latter's mediation in the indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria, but Monday's meeting with President Abdullah Gul also focused on the ongoing fire from Gaza.

"Israel cannot refrain from responding to the criminal fire on its citizens," Omert told Gul during their meeting in Ankara.


Olmert met President Abdullah Gul before holding talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over dinner.

"What you don't do today in the Middle East – you may not be able to do tomorrow," Olmert said to Erdogan regarding the progression of the negotiations, adding that efforts must be focused on promoting direct talks with Syria.

The two leaders met in private for nearly an hour, and were then joined by their respective entourages for further discussion. After dinner the two resumed their tête-à-tête.

Earlier in the day Olmert met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul. "Israel cannot refrain from responding to the criminal fire on its citizens," Omert told Gul.

There's no reason to believe that the Israelis did not inform their only military ally in the region of their plans for Gaza, so Erdoğan knew. And the AKP decided to use this timing to make another Ergenekon sweep. What AKP's exact intentions are with these recent detentions and where they'll go from here, I haven't figured out yet. Is the US involved, as another Zaman article suggests? It's possible. Are Turkey, Israel, and the US working together? It wouldn't be the first time. Will the paşas allow it to continue? We'll definitely know when the troops leave the barracks.

I have to echo Jenkins: "The question is what happens next"?

One thing is for certain: The Ergenekon investigation has not gone east of the Fırat (Euphrates), so this certainly isn't about cleaning out and dismantling the Deep State.

One last item . . . the editor of Taraf, Adnan Demir, faces five years' imprisonmnent for Taraf's reporting of the Bezele (Aktütün) operation and TSK's major FAIL at the time. From Reporters Without Borders:

Reporters Without Borders today voiced support for Adnan Demir, editor of the liberal daily Taraf, who is facing trial for publishing confidential military information.

The worldwide press freedom organisation said it hoped the Turkish justice system would prove itself capable of resolving a case which involved a journalist who had done his job with professionalism.

"Adnan Demir has revealed information that is telling about the actions of the Turkish Army and raises several questions about possible mismanagement. The people have the right to be informed about the circumstances in which its citizens risk their lives."

[ . . . ]

The prosecutor at the Istanbul higher court yesterday called for a sentence of three to five years against Demir.

Isn't democracy wonderful?!


hamo said...

Turkey, Turks and the Turkish media is a joke. Until recently when almost everyone (islamists and kemalists) was keep denying the JITEM and the special forces who were created to murder Kurdish civilians and intellectuals by the Turkish state. Apperantly, suddenly all these people in Turkey talking about nothing but murders that perpetrated by these state offcials gangs.

We all know that all these Ergenekon case is nothing but just trying to save Islamist Kerdogan's ass from the kemalists. Every single people who got in the police detention represent the buncrapcy and the imbrassment of Ataturks Neo-Nazi states regime in Turkey which lasted more then 80 years in Turkey.

Turkey now, truly should welcome the Islamic Regime (mild islam) as a real state system. In the mean time, I hope at least Kurdish civilians would not get murdered right in the public places anymoreause of these ergenekon detentions.

Mizgîn said...

You're absolutely correct about the JITEM denial, Hamo. They were doing that until very recently, but maybe that's because JITEM is, for the moment, a convenient excuse for everyone.

Still hasn't crossed the Firat heading east, has it?