Ergenekon investigation in Turkey: “terrorist organisation” or a “military junta”?

Dandelion Salad

translated by Can Ertür
Fikritakip, 29 March 2008

The broadening of the “Ergenekon terrorist organisation” [1] investigation and the closure case against the AKP [the Justice and Development Party] [2] concurred in Turkey. Divided into two camps, Turkey’s political groups are inevitably drawing a connection between the two events in their interpretations of this overlap.

While one side sees the closure case against the AKP as a retaliation for the Ergenekon investigation (or to put it mildly, as an attempt to prevent the investigation or to remove the closure case from the agenda), the other side talks about a sudden speeding up of the Ergenekon investigation as a revenge for the closure case against the AKP.

Even if the two events are totally unrelated, the perceptions mentioned above have already established a definite link between the closure case and the investigation.

As a matter of fact, there is no doubt that the Ergenekon investigation, which had been running its course for 9 months, has suddenly accelerated and its scope expanded with the arrest of some important names (such as columnist Ilhan Selcuk [3], political leader Dogu Perincek [4] and former rector Kemal Alemdaroglu [5] ). These latest detentions indicate that the investigation acquires an increasingly political nature by aiming at investigating a suspected coup attempt.

Yet, at the beginning of the Ergenekon investigation, the plot was merely described as planning acts of terror to create chaos and pave the way for a coup.

This inevitably leads us to the following questions: Why is the scope of the investigation not limited to the Ergenekon organisation’s acts of terror? Why is the information on to the AKP closure case also being leaked to the press?

What is the connection between the evidence presented about the Ergenekon members’ foreknowledge of the AKP closure case and the allegation that Ergenekon is a terrorist organisation?

It appears that the activities of the “Ergenekon terrorist organisation” are not the main issue. The more important issue is the possibility of a coup attempt, just like the one on 9th March 1971, organised by a junta within the Turkish Armed Forces, but outside the chain of command.

In that case, why is the investigation treating Ergenekon as a right-wing terrorist organisation rather than a junta?

This is where the Ergenekon investigation appears reluctant. The investigation fully reflects its political backers’ reluctance to elaborate on the possibility of a military coup. Maybe this alone vindicates those who initially claimed that this issue relates to President Abdullah Gul [7] and the movement of Mr Fethullah Gulen [8], rather than Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan [6]. In fact, the recent calls for “negotiation” which intend to calm the reactions triggered by the investigation is an important clue that betrays the nature of the political will behind the Ergenekon investigation.

Nonetheless, a much more powerful hint is Prime Minister Erdogan’s harsh reaction to the suggestion that the government should “take a step back”. The president of the ‘Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey’ Rifat Hisarciklioglu enthusiastically called for a negotiated settlement between the opposing parties after coming out of his meeting with President Gul. The Prime Minister described Mr Hisarciklioglu’s call for “everyone to take a step back from one’s current position” as hot air.

It appears that the Prime Minister does not want the Ergenekon case to be conducted as an inquiry on a terrorist organisation. Instead, he is in favour of turning it into a more comprehensive investigation which focuses on the possibility of a coup attempt.

Recently leaked information from the Ergenekon investigation regarding an attempted coup or a junta proves that the investigation is progressing in line with Prime Minister’s inclination.

The investigation created the impression that Ergenekon is a right-wing organisation. One of the reasons for doing this must be to convey a message to the pre-dominantly left-wing political entities in Europe that a struggle is being waged against junta fascism.

Describing Ergenekon as a terrorist organisation implies that it has no connection with the Turkish military. In this way, a message is conveyed to the military personnel involved in the alleged coup, advising them to wash their hands of it before it’s too late.

But the weakness of the investigation is that the pro-government journalists add their own ideological or political tendencies into the investigation, with the intent of pursuing other agendas as well.

For instance, one of such analyses drew a connection between the investigation and Russia. Furthermore, it has been alleged that Mr Perincek attempted to stage a coup in Turkey on behalf of the Russian and Chinese intelligence.

These allegations can be treated as indications that reinforce the suspicion of a US finger in the investigation. In fact, the allegations could go a step further by attributing the coup attempt to Iran, leaving the AKP government with the sole option of total capitulation to the US as a way of protecting itself from the coup. Just as Cheney has expectations for Turkey concerning a military attack on Iran, just as Israel is playing its last trump cards to divide Palestine, topple the HAMAS government and eliminate Iran’s alternative influence in the Middle East!

The government needs to handle the Ergenekon investigation with caution. If there actually has been a military coup attempt similar to that of 9th March 1971, then the only possible overseas connection would be Washington. At a time when the advocates of a junta stress secularism to such an extent and in a setting where they almost try to present Islam as a source of terror just like their foreign counterparts; is it really possible for Russia, China or Iran to be the power behind such a coup attempt?

link to the original article in Turkish:

Translator’s notes:

[1] : Ergenekon is a Gladio-type underground formation within the Turkish state establishment which sought to manipulate the public opinion by psychological warfare, agents provocateurs and false flag terrorist actions.

[2] : The Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the ruling party in Turkey which won the last general elections with a landslide.

[3] : Ilhan Selcuk is a columnist and chair of the editorial board of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (Republic).

[4] : Dogu Perincek is the leader of Turkey’s secular-nationalist Isci Partisi (Workers’ Party).

[5] : Prof. Kemal Alemdaroglu is a former rector of the Istanbul University.

[6] : Tayyip Erdogan is the Prime Minister of Turkey since March 2003. He is the leader and one of the founders of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

[7] : Abdullah Gul is the President of Turkey since August 2007 and one of the founders of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). He previously served for five months as the Prime Minister (2002-2003) and then as the Foreign Minister (2003-2007).

[8] : Fethullah Gulen is the leader of a Turkish religious sect (named after him) which runs about 500 educational institutions in more than 90 countries in Eurasia, Africa and North America.

h/t: Cem Ertür

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One thought on “Ergenekon investigation in Turkey: “terrorist organisation” or a “military junta”?

  1. does fbı help the ınvestıgators of ergenekon in witnesses in turkey and give the suspected names to be arrested.

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