One of the most striking questions I would ask him was pertinent to pressures on him to leave office, in the final stage of his term as prime minister, in favor of another figure in the Democratic Left Party (DSP). Reports alleged that these pressures came from some retired generals. However there were also rumors indicating that “some commanders on active duty” were involved in this. Aware of his courtesy and sensitivities as a statesman, I did not think it proper to ask this question all of a sudden during the live broadcast. During the preliminary talks, I asked, “Sir, do those who put pressure on you include commanders on active duty?” He replied, “Yes, it was them who actually asked me to leave.” I said, “Can I ask this during the live broadcast?” He said, “It would be better I you don’t.” Because he asked that I not ask the question, I have not previously written of this conversation in my column.
This issue came to light during the Ergenekon investigation, as it revealed a coup attempt made against Ecevit during the 2001-2002 period. Radikal daily columnist Murat Yetkin, who was the closest witness to these events at the time, carried the military pressure on Ecevit to leave office to his column the other day. So we have once more been reminded what kind of inhumane treatment Ecevit was exposed to during those days. Here is what was spoken and written at that time. A report was to be issued at the hospital where he was receiving medical treatment to prove that he was unable to fulfill his functions as prime minister. They would create the impression that the prime minister was almost dying, let alone recovering. The fact that Ecevit regained his health after he was discharged from the hospital showed that he was able to foil a conspiracy plotted against him.
We do not know the size and magnitude of the coup attempt cited in the Ergenekon indictment. The statements by the politicians and journalists who will testify at court throughout the legal process may ensure that we can learn the truth as time goes by. What is apparent already is that the Ergenekon case will shed light on the unresolved murders and assassinations and many other incidents relations that have remained mystery so far. Most importantly, the connections between Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Ergenekon and the shroud of mist in regards to Ergenekon influence in radical religious groups will be illuminated.
To this end, the operation staged to ensure that Ecevit left office is of great importance. Let us recall what happened when Ecevit refused to step down despite pressures. At a time when the fruits of the tight economy policy implemented by the coalition government led by Ecevit would be born, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli announced they had withdrawn from the coalition. Ecevit was surprised; he did not understand this. In a “Pazar Sohbeti” (Sunday Talk) show broadcast on April 3, 2005, I asked, “Years have passed; are you now able to explain why Bahçeli did this?” He replied he was still unable to provide an explanation for this. Iraq’s invasion by the US a few months later with the pretext of toppling Saddam brought the influence of foreign actors in the pressures against Ecevit to step down to the fore.
Really, what is the role of the US in this entity called Ergenekon? Prosecutor Felice Casson, who eliminated Gladio in Italy, said in a meeting sponsored by the Genç Siviller (Young Civilians) on April 26, 2008 that this entity was created by the CIA rather than NATO. Recalling the strategic importance of Turkey, he also underlined that this strongest state gang may exist in our country as well.
Another dimension of this business was revealed in Italy. The brain of Gladio was the P-2 Masonic lodge. At the end of the case, it became apparent that this group of 2,500 members wiretapped everyone’s phone conversations and acted together with politicians, businessmen, military and particularly the media, relying on their status and connections.
We will see which dirty connections and perpetrators of political assassinations the Ergenekon investigation will reveal.
The panic and concern of some circles is not without reason. Turkey will no longer be the old Turkey.