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September 27, 2011, Tuesday

Will the General Staff not make a statement?

My column on Friday was entitled, “If not the goats, then who?” Because last week the president made a statement to a group of journalists in Berlin regarding the chopper accident that killed Grand Unity Party (BBP) Chairman Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu and said: “It is incredible, but the flight recorder of the chopper that crashed is gone and, well, the goats didn’t take it.”

Two days after my column, an exclusive news report in our paper by Emre Soncan, offers an answer to my question, “Who were they?” The report read, “Here are the officers removing the devices from the chopper.” Zaman accessed the images depicting the removal of the devices. In the process of making the video that would change the course of the investigation, one of the military officers was removing the devices, two were watching him and the remaining one was shooting the video.

BBP leader Yazıcıoğlu and five other passengers died in the chopper crash four days before the local elections on March 25, 2009. The incident, which seemed like an accident, raised serious doubts and suspicions. I wrote all this last week. The parliamentary commission of inquiry set up to investigate the incident did not lead to any concrete results. The course of the investigation drastically changed after the appointment of the State Audit Institution (DDK) by President Abdullah Gül. The shocking images published by Zaman have become the strongest evidence to shed light on the truth.

Two things attract my attention on this matter. First, despite the huge amount of evidence in the Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer) cases, some journalists and columnists remain silent. Particularly, some of our friends, who miss hundreds of bits of information, even while being told, “Well, this is a document and this is a report, if you require them,” despite the fact that they never seem to miss this kind of information requires explanation.

This is so obvious that even the images published by Zaman are missed by some of our journalists and columnists but this is not a problem at all. Even if they obstruct it, the vast majority of the public is aware that there are many horrible things going on under the heading of the guardianship system in this country.

A second point that attracts my attention is the silence of the General Staff. I have written this many times before. The General Staff Headquarters is mismanaging the process of the Ergenekon and Balyoz cases. The Internet motion has case confirmed this mismanagement. Former Chief of General Staff İlker Başbuğ comparing an anti-tank weapon (LAW) to a pipe, and holding an authentic document in hand, referring to it as a piece of paper, now linger in our memories as a show by this management that displayed weakness.

The same mismanagement continues after the publication of the images depicting the removal of the black box. Really, why does the General Staff remain silent? There are a number of questions out there: Are the published images fabricated? Are those in the images not military officials? If the images are authentic, why are these officers removing the chopper’s black box? Why are they recording the removal? Who are these officers? Given that they cannot act so recklessly all by themselves, who gave them the command to do this? Who is behind this? Why is this commander giving orders to tamper with the evidence? If, and I do not want to say it, the chopper accident was caused by some of the commanders from the army, what did they want from Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu? Why was he murdered? What sort of information, which was apparently fairly important for the pro-guardianship figures, was the cause of his death?

Let us say that the new command line was not aware of it, but still it has been days since the president made statements on the incident, noting that it could not be covered up. The images are out there, so why have the officers in these images not been suspended? Why does the General Staff not allow investigations into these commanders? And if such a permit had been granted, why was this not publicized? If not, what is the reason for this attitude?

Turkey has become a new Turkey since the referendum held on Sept. 12, 2010. There is a strong will for democratization. We are moving along an irreversible path that refers to the rule of law and accountability of all. Those who do not get this and use the power of the media to block the truth, deviating from and diluting it, are badly mistaken.

Previous articles of the columnist