This week three matters came together to complete the scene. The first is prosecutors’ claims in an appeal of the Hrant Dink case to the Supreme Court of Appeals in protest of an earlier decision.
The second is the crimes attributed to the old commander of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), who testified for the first time. The third is the sentences sought by the prosecution for the accused in the ongoing Balyoz (Sledgehammer) trial -- the trial of an attempted coup. The third appears to be a separate matter, but when thought about in the context of the other two, it creates a complete photograph of Turkey’s recent past.
The prosecutor who filed the appeal says that the lack of progress in the Hrant Dink murder investigation is not exceptional and that those who committed the crime did not act on their own accord.
In Trabzon, those who planned the murder acted as an Ergenekon terrorist cell and executed the murder in the name of Ergenekon. This claim is important because it sheds light on all the unsolved murders leading up to Dink’s that took place. Because the Hrant Dink trial was so sensational, it was covered in detail. This murder does not stand alone.
There is evidence that the attacks leading up to what was done to Danıştay -- the murder of high-ranking judges and the massacre that was launched at the Zirve publishing house -- were carried out by the same group. The murder of Father Andrea Santora is a case in point. The Hrant Dink trial is very important because the existence of a major organization was brought to light. Let us look at the opposite side of the issue. Following these murders, which happened in 2007, the Ergenekon trial began. Since that day, not a single unsolved murder case has been processed.
With regards to the Internet memorandum case, in which for former TSK commander İlker Başbuğ faces trial, no confusion about the crimes or criminals exist. None of the parties involved deny the creation of certain websites in order to create a suitable environment for the armed forces to erode the government and, in this, possibly stage a coup. Those who received the commands and those who followed them are clear. All sides take as granted the punishment Başbuğ will receive for these crimes. The arguments center on whether or not Başbuğ will be tried as a “leader of a terrorist organization” according to provision in the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Crimes were committed within the chain of command.
The third matter is that the attempted coup lawsuit is detailed and comprehensive. Çetin Doğan planned a military coup in 2003 to overthrow the AK Party government. Three hundred and sixty-five active and retired military personnel participated in the plan. They planned murders and bombings.
Commissions and organizations were created. The court is now trying those organization members who were involved in the coup attempt and those that possessed a detailed coup plan. The prosecutor requested a 20-year sentence of imprisonment for the 365 active and military officials, who are officially charged with an “unsuccessful attempt to stage a coup.”
These three developments clearly show the complete picture. The TSK is the fourth largest army in the world. In the last 50 years this military has carried out four successful coups and attempted even more. What’s more, Turkey was ruled under military tutelage, which was in control with regard to the legislature, the executive branch and even the judiciary.
Those involved in the attempted coups are being tried under the Sledgehammer case; there is currently a lawsuit against the commander of the TSK for wearing down the government; the judiciary is trying to lift the veil behind the Hrant Dink murder case and are pursuing those in the military who partook in Ergenekon; this means that democracy and the law are dominant, and Turkey is making democratic progress.
A Turkey in which coup attempts are prosecuted is a Turkey in which any attempt to overthrow the government and to commit murder in pursuit of new coups will be circumvented.