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July 27, 2012, Friday

More on coups Christian murders

In my previous articles, I have discussed the murders of Christians in Turkey in 2006 and 2007, drawing attention to the ongoing trial into the slaughter of Christians at the Zirve publishing house in Malatya.

One particularly reason I have done this because that this case has more substantiated content and is progressing more soundly than the cases of the murder of Hrant Dink and priest Andrea Santoro. Indeed, a supplementary indictment has been submitted to the court that describes important findings by the prosecutors.

As is known, the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court acquitted all defendants in the Dink murder case who had faced charges of being members of a criminal organization in its January 17, 2012. A supplementary indictment of 19 defendants, prepared and submitted to the Malatya Specially Authorized 3rd High Criminal Court by Malatya Specially Authorized Public Prosecutor İsmail Aksoy, in which is discussed the “abetting” and “organized” structure of the case, also reveals important links to the criminal organization behind the murders of Dink and Santoro. According to the supplementary indictment, the organization behind these murders is the same network behind the murders at Malatya’s Zirve publishing house.

This indictment has been accepted by Malatya Specially Authorized 3rd High Criminal Court. Now, the main case file of the Zirve trial may be merged with the main case file of the Kafes (Cage) action plan because the same criminal organization that was behind the murders of Dink and Santoro were responsible for the plan as well.

As I reiterated in my previous article, these murders are not independent of the coup processes that emerged in Turkey after Nov. 3, 2002, when the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came to power.

Actually, when the Welfare Party (RP) won a remarkable success in the 1994 local elections, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the current prime minister, was elected mayor of İstanbul, a city seen as symbol of modernity, generating great rage among neo-nationalist Kemalists. A coalition was quickly created to lay the groundwork for a coup. This process accelerated when the RP came to power by establishing a coalition with the True Path Party (DYP). At that time, an overwhelming majority of media outlets, business groups, trade unions, professional organizations and universities worked greedily and voluntarily under the coordination of pro-coup military officers in order to convince the general public and the world outside Turkey that overthrowing the government would be a legitimate act. In reality, there was neither a risk of Shariah law nor secularism at hand. However, they created this perception of Turkey in order to give the impression that the country was suffering from such problems. The efforts by media outlets were sufficient to accomplish this. Certain disgraceful acts by fake Sufi masters were exaggerated and pumped into the collective subconscious of the general public by specially selected TV anchormen who employed effects used in horror films.

Staging a postmodern coup

Indeed, this scenario really worked and the military staged through the National Security Council (MGK) on Feb. 28, 1997, what later would come to be known as a postmodern coup. In June of this same year, Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan resigned under mounting pressure. Here, I should note that then-President Süleyman Demirel -- who had been victimized by the coups of 1970 and 1980 -- made specific efforts to ensure the military would successfully overthrow the government. He was the maestro of the coup. The postmodern coup of Feb. 28 marks the darkest era in the history of Turkish democracy in terms of the actions of civilians.

Now, the Feb. 28 coup of is being investigated as well. Once-powerful generals, including Çevik Bir in particular, are now in jail. This is something that could not have been imagined 10 or even five years ago in Turkey.

It was not acceptable for the coup perpetrators that the AK Party, having sprung from the RP, came to power on Nov. 3, 2002. However, the perpetrators were not as strong as they had been at the time of the postmodern coup of Feb. 28 and could not exert unrelenting control over the media as they had done in the past. The world was changing quickly and the monopoly on information was being quickly disrupted; they had to find a way that would be more effective. Moreover, the AK Party movement had gone through a process of serious self-critiquing during the Feb. 28 coup. It had abandoned Erbakan’s state-oriented, self-isolating, anti-Western, archaic attitudes that played into the hands of the coup perpetrators. Instead, worked at an unprecedented scale to further the country’s bid to become a member of the European Union and improved ties with the US and the rest of the world. True, they were still religious, but they wouldn’t bark at the moon, and they would focus on universal values that would facilitate improved ties with other religions, cultures and nations.

Numerous coup plots were uncovered between 2003 and 2004. The military was unable to stage these coups because the outside world would see no justifiable reason for the overthrow of the government. Moreover, the police intelligence unit, established by the late President Turgut Özal as an alternative to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the military intelligence unit, closely monitored the activities of coup perpetrators and, as we later learned, the government sent warnings to junta generals. Additionally, the chief of General Staff of the time, Gen. Hilmi Özkök, was setting up roadblocks before subversive generals.

In my opinion, being unable to stage a traditional or postmodern coup, the junta decided, at that time, to push the country towards instability, forcing the government to go away of its own volition. To this end, they needed violent acts that would bring doubt and horror to the general public. They had to undermine the legitimacy the AK Party had earned from the EU and the US, and the government had to be put behind the eight ball at home and abroad.

They devised two extremely symbolic acts that would create the impression that the AK Party and its voter base had a secret agenda to turn the country into another Iran: the assassination of secular and Christian figures.

Indeed, a person named Alparslan Arslan raided the Council of State, one of the symbols of the secular establishment, with the advertised intention of protesting the headscarf ban. A high judge -- Mustafa Bilgili -- died in the attack. However, it raised many questions. It was said that the security cameras had not been functioning during the attack, but it was later found out that they had indeed been functional but their hard disks had been manipulated. The security company that operated those cameras was affiliated with Turkey’s biggest military economic enterprise. Now, an investigation was underway. The trial stemming from the Council of State attack was merged with the case against Ergenekon, a clandestine organization nested within the state attempting to overthrow or manipulate the democratically elected government.

Priest Santoro was killed in 2006 in Trabzon and my friend, Turkish-Armenian journalist Dink, was killed in January 2007. The massacre at the Zirve publishing house came in April 2007. The message behind these assassinations was that there was a dubious religious party in office and that radical Islamists, secretly sponsored by this party, were killing secular people and Christians. Turkey, a modern secular Muslim country and favorite of the West, might at any moment turn into Iran!

Returning to the supplementary indictment in the Zirve massacre trial, the indictment claims that the murders were “committed with the intention of laying the blame on the AK Party and the Gülen movement.”

In other words, through evidence, secret witnesses and confessions, the prosecutor has reached the same conclusion we sensed when the murders were committed.

The 761-page supplementary indictment prepared by Malatya Specially Authorized Public Prosecutor İsmail Aksoy lists as defendants retired Gen. Ahmet Hurşit Tolon, former Malatya Gendarmerie Regiment commander Col. Mehmet Ülger and Maj. Haydar Yeşil as well as a number lower-ranking military officers, soldiers and civilians who worked as secret agents for an organization called the National Strategies and Operations Department of Turkey (TUSHAD), an undercover military unit.

The indictment accuses Tolon, Ülger and Yeşil of such acts as leading a terrorist organization, attempting to overthrow the government of the Turkish Republic or to prevent it from performing its duties, inciting premeditated murder, inciting the deprivation of freedom and forging official documents. The prosecutor is seeking two consecutive life sentences in solitary confinement for each with no possibility of parole.

As its most important point, the indictment states: “Given the fact that Ahmet Hurşit Tolon, a defendant in the Ergenekon trial, was in Malatya before and on the day the murders were committed, and [given] that the report by the State Audit Institution [DDK] on the murder of Hrant Dink and testimony by witness codenamed Adıyaman portend links among the murders of priest Santoro, Hrant Dink and the missionaries at the Zirve publishing house, the connection between these murders and the Ergenekon terrorist organization and this organization’s planned acts have been made clear.”

This shocking development has not been covered sufficiently by the media. However, the three symbolic trials are of crucial importance in deciphering the deep state, known as Ergenekon, founded by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) back in the 1910s.

Previous articles of the columnist