Commander didn’t allow anti-PKK operation, says Ergenekon witness

Commander didn’t allow anti-PKK operation, says Ergenekon witness

A PKK attack at a military outpost in 1993 that left six dead could have been prevented, but a commander knowingly stopped an operation against the terrorists, says a witness in the Ergenekon case.

August 22, 2009, Saturday/ 17:00:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
An outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attack that left six dead in 1993 could have been stopped if it weren't for a commander who knowingly did not allow a brigade to launch an operation to fend off the attack, according to witness testimony included in the evidence files relating to the third indictment in the case against Ergenekon, a clandestine gang charged with plotting to overthrow the government.

According to a witness who testified to the prosecution using the code name Mehmet, village guards in the Kağızman region informed a special operations team deployed in the region's traffic department on June 27, 1993 that a group of PKK militants were approaching the area to stage an attack.

However, the district gendarmerie commander insisted that that the village guards were lying and did not allow an operation against the PKK group. The next day, a noncommissioned officer and five privates were killed by the terrorists. The witness, whose real identity is being kept secret due to security concerns, also said, “I think the operation was deliberately prevented.”

Evidence included in new folders shared with Ergenekon suspects’ lawyers on Thursday clearly shows links between the terrorist PKK and members of Ergenekon who served in high positions inside the military. Prosecutors say Ergenekon used various terrorist groups in bombing and shooting attacks

Similar testimony from other witnesses included in the evidence folders suggest more shocking deeds carried out by Ergenekon. According to the Anatolia news agency, another secret witness in the case who was a suspect himself until he agreed to cooperate with the prosecution testified: “In the days when the Ergenekon trial commenced [in October 2008], I overheard a conversation between suspects Mehmet Demirtaş and Oktay Yıldırım. Mehmet Demirtaş was saying, ‘We are done for if they understand that these Council of State bombs are ours.' In response, Yıldırım said: ‘They can't tell. The batch numbers are different.' They stopped talking when I entered the room.”

The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court ruled on Tuesday to merge the trial of the suspects in the 2006 murder of a Council of State judge with that of Ergenekon. Prosecutors have scores of witnesses and documents serving as evidence that the Ergenekon terrorist organization is behind the Council of State attack. Anatolia's statement further confirms this finding.

After the Council of State attack was staged on May 17, 2006, based on the initial statements made by suspects, it looked as if the attackers had chosen their target to protest a decision by the high court against the headscarf. However, as the Ergenekon investigation unfolded, the case increasingly appeared to be tied to the organization, which aimed to foment chaos inside the country with the ultimate purpose of triggering a coup d'état.

Another secret witness, a former member of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) who currently resides abroad testified using the code name Gurbet. In his testimony, he said that Ergenekon and the MLKP, an armed group of the past, had jointly planned the Gazi incidents of 1995, in which 17 people were killed in an Alevi neighborhood in İstanbul.

The witness said: “When we, as the MLKP, reviewed the aftermath of the Gazi incidents, we saw that there were some shady spots. Despite the fact that the MLKP's Gazi organization knew that the coffeehouse would be shot at with automatic rifles, none of the higher MLKP members outside the Gazi branch had been informed. Hasan Ocak, responsible for the Gazi neighborhood organization, informed the higher members after the incident. Ocak, despite knowing that there would be an attack -- knowing the date and hour -- in the Gazi neighborhood, didn't share this information with MLKP administrators until afterwards. Ocak was later kidnapped and silenced by those who used him. The traces of his disappearance can be found in the Ergenekon incident. The trial of the Gazi incidents was heard by a court in the gendarmerie region led by [Ergenekon suspect and now retired Gen.] Veli Küçük.”

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