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January 22, 2013, Tuesday

What does the aborted attack against the İzmit church tell us?

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.

The groups who have always collaborated with subversive juntas have managed to turn this disillusion into opportunity. With the help of the media and the power of propaganda, these groups have been able to fabricate the image that those who plotted to overthrow the democratically elected government under the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plan or those people who are accused of being members of the Ergenekon terrorist organization -- a clandestine organization nested within the state trying to overthrow or manipulate the democratically elected government -- are actually innocent but are being victimized by the judicial authorities. Making the best use of people's forgetfulness, these groups and the media outlets at their disposal are making fun of the memories and intellects of those who can still remember who is who and who is part of which anti-democratic schemes and attempts.

If certain hair-raising developments – should I be happy and angry with them, I cannot decide -- had not been uncovered, these groups would have been able to take their campaign to whitewash the coup perpetrators and their black propaganda efforts to a successful conclusion. They would have been able to make us see black as white or vice versa. In the final analysis, the intense efforts of certain so-called judicial groups such as the İstanbul Bar Association, which entertain the same subversive mentality as the pro-Ergenekon and pro-Balyoz media outlets, have made quite substantial progress in making society believe their lies, despite the obvious realities of daily life. They have come so close to getting the final accomplishment in their quest for advertising the shady figures, who are ready to spoke the wheel of democracy at first opportunity, as good guys. On the other hand, you don't have to be a genius to realize their whitewashing efforts are only the first phase of their plans. There is no guarantee that those who today try to whitewash the coup perpetrators and the defendants of anti-democratic conspiracies will not move again to pave the way for similar coups and military intervention in future.

This successful whitewashing campaign alone is enough to show that the Ergenekon terrorist organization and the deep state organizations, whose networks spread even to business circles and media outlets, are alive and kicking. Moreover, neither Ergenekon nor the subversive tradition of the army and society consists solely of those who have been arrested and prosecuted so far. It is true that since the beginning of the criminal prosecution of Ergenekon members and coup perpetrators, no scandalous, politically motivated murders by unknown assailants have occurred in the country. But this does not mean that illegal, clandestine and shadowy affairs have come to an end. A brief look at the Uludere tragedy -- in which 34 civilians were mistaken for terrorists and killed by military airstrikes in Şırnak's Uludere district, due to false intelligence -- is enough to prove my case.

Also, thankfully, the police have acquired comprehensive experience about when and how those who seek to sabotage the democratization process will attack, and their well-timed operations can uncover their numerous plots and schemes at the planning stage. This is what happened when the police apprehended the people who were preparing to attack a church in İzmit and the Christian clerics of the church last Friday.

As you will remember, 11 people were arrested by the police on charges of planning to stage an attack against the members of the Protestant church in İzmit last Friday. The police teams from the counter-terrorism department started to monitor a group of people who collected information about Turkish priest Emre K. from the church, located in the Çukurbağ neighborhood of İzmit. A member of this group was observed to pretend to be a Christian and attend ceremonies at the church. The police finally launched an operation and detained 11 suspects. One of these suspects was arrested and sent to jail by a court decision, while five of them were released pending trial.

A similar incident occurred five years ago in İzmit, and the Kocaeli police department and the provincial gendarmerie command launched a joint operation titled "Back Streets" in 2007 in Kocaeli, İstanbul, Trabzon, Yalova and Adapazarı, detaining 28 people. The members of the gang were accused of preparing to assassinate Wolfgang Hade, a priest at the Protestant church in İzmit. The charges against them included forming a criminal organization, murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, threats and battery, and out of 28 suspects, 23 were arrested and sent to prison.

In the recent past, we have witnessed the gruesome likes of the attempted assassination whose perpetrators were luckily apprehended at the planning stage in İzmit. Indeed, many churches, non-Muslim clerics and prominent non-Muslim figures were attacked by people who had later been found to be affiliated with deep state networks and juntas. Thus, priest Andrea Santoro was murdered in Trabzon and Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was brutally killed on the street in front of many witness, and three Christian missionaries were assassinated in Malatya.

The intention behind these dreadful murders could be discovered thanks to the Kafes (Cage) action plan with which the subversive junta members targeted non-Muslim citizens. This devilish plan sought to sponsor attacks against and murders of non-Muslims at a time when a political party with Islamic sensitivities was in power so as to discredit it in the eyes of the international community. They further intended to pave the way for a military takeover by provoking international reactions through such attacks and massacres. The recently uncovered attempt in İzmit is concrete proof that these plans have not been shelved altogether.

This picture further tells us that while the operational power of Ergenekon might have been undermined considerably, the Ergenekon terrorist organization and subversive juntas have their extensions and collaborators within various social groups and segments and state organizations, particularly the media, and these extensions are still alive and active.

For this reason, it is a must for all democratic groups to raise themselves to the level of awareness provided by the slogan, "Coup perpetrators cannot be whitewashed," chanted by the members of the 70 Million Steps Against Military Coups on Sunday. This level of democratic awareness, freed from lethargy, will fully align with the ideas voiced in the statement made during that protest: "The noisy coup-loving propaganda is calling on our consciences to be fair," drawing attention rightfully to the fact that undermining the democratic system, blacklisting people, destroying so-called internal enemies, closing down political parties, torturing people collectively, and murdering Kurds, non-Muslim minorities and even prime ministers are the real acts of unfairness.

The Ergenekon terrorist organization, subversive groups and their ubiquitous extensions do not waste a second in whitewashing these dreadful crimes. But are democrats sufficiently concerned about these efforts?


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