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January 24, 2013, Thursday

The ‘shadow state’ unfolding

The story unfolds in its own pace, page by page. As I mentioned in a previous article, titled “South by Southwest” (Jan. 13), the report by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to the Investigation Commission of Coups and Military Memorandums within Parliament was a bombshell. The 287-page-long report arrived a little too late. But its impact will be huge, as I predicted.

The reason is simple. It helps reveal further the real shadow structures which lie behind the Ergenekon network and exposes a vast picture of dark, subversive units set up to protect the state against the internal enemy. It has now been followed up by some reporters and pundits with a conscience, as more details from various directions also come in. The flow of data is simply amazing.

Many of us with a memory of the time since 1980 coup -- for example, myself and Orhan Kemal Cengiz in this newspaper and others elsewhere -- steadily claimed that along with the demythification of the military might of Turkey, an even more serious task would be how to dig in, expose, deconstruct and bring to justice the clandestine structures within it, so that any further danger to the stabilization of democracy could be averted for good.

As pointed out by Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş yesterday, this second phase is being sloppily handled by political powers. Keneş drew our attention to worrisome developments targeting Christian activities in İzmit, only an hour away from Istanbul. Others would point out the systematic attacks against Armenians in the Samatya district of İstanbul. It is obvious that some circles are at large, causing havoc once more over religious divides.

I agree with Keneş that “The groups that have been waging a precarious struggle against Turkey's militarist and subversive circles have recently started to exhibit signs of incredible relaxation and lethargy as if the process has concluded.” It would never be an exaggeration to say that we race against time in exposing in full and deconstructing Turkey's “shadow” or “deep” state. All the signs indicate that its tentacles of state and security apparatuses, in the media and business and in politics, are alive and well.

The unfolding of the new shocking details that sort of follow-up on the MİT report submitted to Parliament have been reported by dailies such as Taraf, Zaman and Yeni Şafak. In summary they have been reporting the following. In four separate investigations and trials (the spy case in Izmir, the assassination attempt at Bülent Arınç, the Dink trial and, most importantly, the case over the murder of missionaries in Malatya), the evidence found only confirms the vast activity of such dark networks, including command and operation centers.

The major issue is, as Taraf has reported in the past days, the MİT report's content overlaps entirely with the material, most of it classified, confiscated by the prosecutor who is investigating the case surrounding the murder attempt against Arınç. Mustafa Bilgili has so far not made public all the details of his findings, but the leaks Taraf printed about the major remnants of the shadow state are shocking enough. He may send the material to the trial of the Malatya murder case, because the defense lawyers have already demanded them to be added in the files.

More details have come from the Malatya trial. Taraf published some voice recordings yesterday which revealed lengthy conversations between the murder suspects concerning covert operations to silence Christians, as well as some discussions about Hrant Dink. Orhan Kemal Cengiz, columnist at this paper, is also mentioned as a possible target for action. More details are to come, obviously.

The question is how determined the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is to dismantle these structures. Erdal Doğan, defense lawyer in the Malatya Zirve case, issued a warning that the “real Turkish Gladio” is still at large. “It is disinformation in favor of Ergenekon to take claims seriously, that Erdoğan uses it to silence opposition. Ergenekon must not be taken lightly. But we go nowhere unless the entire ‘Special Warfare Unit' within the military is dealt resolutely with -- and its archives.”

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