The investigation into the helicopter crash in which Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu died has entered a new stage, thanks to a recent police investigation. Operations were held at the same time in five cities, soon after I asked in my column, “Won't the General Staff make a statement?” 16 were arrested, and 13 of these were military officers (two retired and 11 on active duty), including those who served on the team assigned by the General Staff to remove the wreck of the helicopter.
After the president's statement 10 days ago that “it wasn't goats who removed the flight recorder,” we have reached a point of no return. This has previously been the case with developments in the Ergenekon and Balyoz investigations. While some attempted to cover up the evidence and the facts, huge progress has been made in shedding light on what was really happening.
Was the death of Yazıcıoğlu an accident or sabotage? Those who love him prefer to think it was an accident. They cannot accept the possibility that he was killed through the careful planning of a big organization. Yazıcıoğlu was a man of honor and integrity. He was honest and brave. He was standing on the right spot. He was tried after the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, in the cases involving nationalist figures and institutions; and he spent seven and a half years in Mamak Prison, 5 and a half of which was served in solitary confinement. He recognized the plot staged by the military; he was a politician, but he was above politics. Why was such a great person killed? How could he have been killed?
A suspicion is being voiced now, suggesting that Yazıcıoğlu was serving as an secret witness in the Ergenekon case. This argument goes on to say, “He knew too much: When he communicated what he knew to the judges and prosecutors, forces within the military panicked and then murdered him.” Recently, I asked Grand Unity Party (BBP) Chairman Mustafa Destici what he thinks about this. He told me that the rumor that Yazıcıoğlu was a secret witness seeks to erode his image. He further said: “Yazıcıoğlu was a frank person; if he had been working in such a capacity, he would have shared that with me, Yalçın Topçu and his family.”
The question, “Why was he killed?” occupies our minds. The presence of a warplane passing through the site at the time of the crash, conflicting statements, the reluctance to go to the accident site and the removal of the flight recorder from the helicopter's body among other thing raise suspicions of sabotage.
Who would do this and why? It is no secret that those who seek to topple the government via a chaos-inducing coup have been attempting to ensure that the BBP's youth branches are engaged such illegal activities. We have witnessed one example of a similar attempt in Hrant Dink's murder. But those who knew Yazıcıoğlu also knew that no one else could do what he was capable of.
Personally, I believe that Yazıcıoğlu did not agree to the military's terms, tried to abort the coup plans and was chosen as a target for this reason. His strong opposition to the April 27 e-memorandum, and his firm stance during the presidential election, when he attended a session of Parliament to cast his vote, at a time when all other center-right parties failed to behave in a democratic manner, disturbed the military tutelage. Some of his striking statements linger in the mind, for instance: “The army is the pupil of our eye. But we must never salute an army that has directed a tank against the nation. I received some information stating that a small minority, holding anti-democratic ambitions, may attempt a coup, and that they have been making some preparations for this. I received some tapes…” And there is another one, from Tokay, on May 27, 2007: “Turkey will not become Iran or Algeria. And we will not let others turn it into Syria.”
Did Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu die in an accident? Or was he murdered in a staged accident? The matter is being investigated by the judiciary. But as I have written before, some papers have consistently failed to see the documents and the evidence which expose the existence of deep structures within the state since the start of the Ergenekon case; or they ridicule or dilute the whole process. For instance, what are the journalistic criteria governing the editors and managers who have overlooked the reports of the investigations held in five cities? Aren't the police searches performed in the 2nd Army Headquarters in Malatya, various military barracks, the Central Command in Buca-Şirinyer in İzmir and the General Directorate of Civilian Aviation in Ankara valuable to report on?