The legal change mentioned here is to Article 250 of the Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK). This would be the fastest and most practical method of getting members of the military who are being held under arrest set free. CMK Article 250 sets out the framework for specially authorized courts of law. These courts can wield more expanded authority than normal courts when it comes to investigations and trials. Ever since the various coup cases first started, the suspects in these cases have objected to the existence of these courts. And since the elimination of these courts has been viewed as the most expedient way to rescue the coup supporters, the topic has been kept at the front and center of the national agenda for as long as possible.
Under the tenure of the previous head of the General Staff, news emerged that the General Staff and the government had reached an agreement on the eve of a new bill aiming to make imprisonment of suspects more difficult. But this time around, the situation is different. The allegation of the general under arrest suddenly brought some realism to the words coming from the mouth of Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister Bekir Bozdağ. In a TV program broadcast on Sunday, Bozdağ brought up the question of whether these specially authorized courts might be eliminated in an open-ended manner: “With so much debate swirling around these courts, we do need to take a look and say, ‘What is the problem?’ Both the government and Parliament need to examine this.”
These words from Bozdağ no doubt aim to trigger a public debate. But Bozdağ also possesses an important characteristic. Whenever the prime minister wants to see a particular topic brought to the agenda and opened up for debate, Bozdağ enters the ring. The most recent public debates over the proposed presidential system were also ignited via Bozdağ, which means that the prime minister must have given orders for Article 250 to be opened up to debate. The situation, in short, is serious.
There are two distinct possibilities in this situation. The first is that a series of tough negotiations between Ergenekon supporters and the government winds up in compromise with the government. Within this compromise scenario, there is also the possibility that the government somehow bowed its neck to some sort of blackmail from this deep organization. As for the second general possibility, it posits that the government has reached an accord of its own free will. Complaints about the ongoing trials and all the arrested generals are swelling. It is possible that the government does not see the investigations as sufficient. It might be that in order to put an end to this business, and to bring down general tension, the government has made a decision to open up debates on whether or not to make some changes to Article 250. The prime minister objecting and saying that “these waves [of arrest] are making society uncomfortable,” while the waves of Feb. 28 arrests are going strong, only supports the thesis that the whole Article 250 topic was about compromise. Of course there is a third possibility at hand as well, which could be that the government is searching for a way not only to come to a compromise with the military but with the public in general.
If there is a compromise, what does it mean?
Ergenekon is an enormous organization, in the manner of Gladio. We are talking about a minimum of around 200,000 members. There are allegations, for example, that the Fenerbahçe protests were even provoked through the talents of this organization. It is also widely believed that this organization pulled back in order not to place the ongoing trials in difficult situations. If all this business gets straightened out and the suspects in question are freed, a wide-spanning wave of revenge could actually start up. As it is, the general that mentioned the possible change to Article 250 also mentioned revenge.
The Ergenekon conspiracies included much that wound up coming true, which is why none of the above-mentioned allegations can be completely disregarded.