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March 13, 2012, Tuesday

ÇEV, Interpol, Sabancı murder…

Last week, an interesting development in the Ergenekon investigation, moving attention in another direction, took place. Turkey demanded the extradition of the former chair of the Contemporary Education Foundation (ÇEV), Gülseven Yaşer, an Ergenekon suspect, from the US where she resides.

The judiciary took further action, after seeing that Interpol was dragging its feet on starting the process for Yaşer’s capture. The İstanbul 12th High Criminal Court, which was specially authorized to hold hearings in regards to the ÇEV administrators, submitted a notice explaining what Ergenekon is with concrete examples to Interpol. The notice addressing US officials noted that Ergenekon was involved in four armed attacks resulting in the deaths of individuals, that 13 armed attacks planned by the organization were prevented, that a large amount of hidden ammunition believed to be cached by Ergenekon was discovered and that the organization had been keeping tabs on 17,400 individuals, based on their ideological references.

The document sent to Interpol also reads, “It became evident that the [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK terrorist organization was manipulated by Doğu Perinçek and Yalçın Küçük -- two Ergenekon suspects -- and that they acted as middlemen between the two [Ergenekon and the PKK] illegal groups.” The document also gives details about links Ergenekon has to other armed groups such as the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP/C) and Hizb ut-Tahrir. This court notice informing Interpol on the details of the trial is important as it is like a slap in the face for those who have been trying to undermine and water down the Ergenekon case.

In addition, the attitude of Interpol requires some explanation considering that the Obama administration declared the PKK a terrorist organization and extended full support to Turkey on fighting terrorism.

European countries also listed the PKK as a terrorist organization but have not responded to the court’s appeal for the extradition of Ergenekon suspects. The Ergenekon suspects at large, Bedrettin Dalan, Gen. Mustafa Bakıcı and Turhan Çömez as well as a further 160 suspects, all live in European countries. The suspects whose extradition is requested but not honored include top executives from the PKK and Uzan family members who left the country following the İmar Bankası corruption scandal.

Terrorism has never been a domestic problem for Turkey alone. Turkey’s neighbors and the big powers that do not want it to become a powerful state in the region use terrorism to try and undermine Turkey’s power and image. Turkey’s rise depends on further democratization and attaining the rule of law. The biggest obstacle before this is terrorism and terrorist organizations. This is why the Kurdish issue has been taken hostage by terrorism because it will be hard to prevent the rise of a Turkey that has resolved its Kurdish issue.

Ergenekon and Balyoz are trials of the century Attempts to undermine this process suffice to suggest that the ongoing process is extremely crucial. Resolving three major murder cases (Hrant Dink, Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu and the Sabancı murders) will play a key role in the democratization of Turkey.

To this end, let me underline a statement by secret witnesses Kıskaç and Dilovası who are testifying in the trial against the suspects. Kıskaç said: “When Özdemir Sabancı was murdered, retired Gen. Öner Pehlivanoğlu was the head of security at the Sabancı Center. Pehlivanoğlu is a close friend of Veli Küçük [who is an Ergenekon trial suspect]. Nobody has done anything about this general.” At this point, let us also recall that Hüseyin Kocadağ, a police chief who died in the Susurluk accident, hired Fehriye Erdal, another suspect in the murder case, at the Sabancı Center.

Witness Dilovası said that he was a member in the same terrorist group as Mustafa Duyar, the person who killed Özdemir Sabancı. Duyar and the secret witness spent time together in jail. Dilovası said in his testimony that Duyar frequently had talks with officials from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) while in prison. He said: “In the same period, I heard a colonel telling Duyar to behave, otherwise nobody would take care of him. Duyar was later transferred to another prison under a bureaucratic decision where he was killed by the Nuriş gang. The killers shouted behind the bars, ‘Ask Veli Küçük about us’.”

In such an environment, I am really finding the fistfights in Parliament very saddening.

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