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February 02, 2012, Thursday

Don’t treat TSK and junta as the same

A few days ago, Erol Mütercimler testified at a hearing of the Ergenekon trial. Ergenekon is a clandestine organization nested within the state believed to have tried to overthrow or manipulate the democratically elected government. He said he first heard of Ergenekon from retired Maj. Gen. Memduh Ünlütürk.

According to his testimony, Ünlütürk told him that this network included "politicians from every party in Parliament" and they "arranged" the election of these politicians to Parliament. "There are major governors who serve us. Many of them later became politicians and senators," he also disclosed to him.

The most striking part of Mütercimler's testimony is this:

"Former Naval Forces Commander Adm. Kemal Kayacan, too, made similar disclosures. He once said: ‘Do you think we are powerful people? There is an organization above us. Do you think our ranks as generals are of any importance?' And I replied that I had heard of an organization called 'Ergenekon,' but didn't take it seriously. He then said: ‘Take it seriously. It is the name of the organization that plots everything'."

Military ranks such as general are apparently not important in the face of the organized power of the junta within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). This is what we have already been emphasizing. In the ongoing cases against coup attempts, it is not the TSK that is being tried. Rather, the juntas or illegal networks within the TSK are being prosecuted. These trials are simply trying to reveal and penalize a network that silences, intimidates and purges the generals, admirals and other military officers who seek to abide by laws. The friends of Ergenekon, their men in the media and politics, are persistently claiming that these trials aim to weaken the Turkish Army and to make it submissive. This is nothing but propaganda aiming to undermine and discredit these trials. The army is our army. Undermining the TSK will make only our enemies happy. However, unless the junta tumor is removed, the TSK will never grow stronger but continue to weaken. Who can simply stand by and watch some groups establish a prostitution and blackmail racket within this institution?

Another important point that needs to be made is that the military judiciary has been unable to illuminate many suspicious deaths of commanders inside military zones.

Numerous commanders, including Adana Regional Gendarmerie Commander Brig. Gen. Temel Cingöz, Tunceli Provincial Gendarmerie Regiment Commander Col. Kazım Çillioğlu, Diyarbakır Regional Gendarmerie Commander Brig. Gen. Bahtiyar Aydın, Mardin Gendarmerie Commander Col. Rıdvan Özden and Col. Vural Berkay were killed while performing their duties inside military zones. Big question marks still remain about the death of another gendarmerie general commander, Eşref Bitlis. As you might have noticed, all of these deaths are related to the gendarmerie.

This was a very important development a few days ago. The Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) completed its examination of samples taken from the grave of Çillioğlu, who was claimed to have committed suicide, and sent its report to the specially authorized prosecutor's office. According to this report, there were traces of arsenic in Çillioğlu's hair and a bullet wound in his shoulder blade. There were also fractures in his rib bones.

Some commanders were assassinated after they had retired. For instance, Ünlütürk and Kayacan were shot to death on April 7, 1991 and July 20, 1992, respectively. The Revolutionary Left (Dev-Sol) claimed responsibility for these attacks. Kayacan's death was the sixth in a series of attacks that started in 1991. Retired Lt. Gen. Hulusi Sayın and retired Lt. Gen. İsmail Selen, who both had served as public order commanders in the Southeast, were assassinated on Jan. 30, 1991 and May 23, 1991, respectively. On the same date (May 23, 1991), Adana Regional Gendarmerie Commander Maj. Gen. Temel Cingöz was shot to death in Adana. On Oct. 13, 1991, retired Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Adnan Ersöz was assassinated. Dev-Sol claimed responsibility for this attack as well.

What did these commanders advocate within the TSK to warrant being purged by contract killers?

I insist that there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. The night is darkest just before dawn, isn't it?

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