Documents seized by police from the computer of journalist Soner Yalçın, the owner of the odatv.com news portal, have shown that the journalist was engaged in plans to discredit the ongoing Ergenekon investigation. Ergenekon is a clandestine criminal organization accused of working to overthrow the government.
In one of the seized Word documents, titled “Hanefi,” Yalçın mentions a plan to have former Eskişehir Police Chief Hanefi Avcı complete his book “Haliç'te Yaşayan Simonlar” (Simons in the Golden Horn) before the Sept. 12 referendum on the constitutional amendment package. “How is Hanefi's book going? It should be completed before the referendum,” the document read.
Avcı was arrested in late September over suspected links to the Revolutionary Headquarters, a leftist terrorist organization behind a deadly attack that took place in İstanbul in 2009.
He had published a controversial book only a few weeks before he was detained, many say, in a pre-emptive move to make his arrest seem politically and religiously motivated. In his book “Haliç’te Yaşayan Simonlar” Avcı argues that the Ergenekon trial is a conspiracy run by the government to silence its critics but at the same time acknowledges he has no proof to back up these allegations.
On Feb. 14 İstanbul police searched the offices of Odatv and the homes of the portal’s administrators and detained four people. Three of the detainees, including Yalçın, were later arrested on charges of membership in a terrorist organization and seizing and publishing confidential state documents.
The same document also said: “The [Gülen] community should be exhausted during the referendum process. Its credibility with the public should be weakened. Hanefi should be used. We shall not have direct contact with him. After his book is published, news reports should focus on his honest nature. Sabih [Kanadoğlu] says the İlhan Cihaner incident should absolutely be mentioned in the book. We should use Cihaner as a symbol. Doğu [Perinçek] says Hanefi should argue [in the book] that Ergenekon is an ‘empty’ case.”
Prosecutor Cihaner was arrested last year on charges of membership in the Ergenekon terrorist organization, but was later released from prison with a controversial decision by the Supreme Court of Appeals. He is accused of putting a coup plan into effect in Erzincan.
During interrogation by prosecutors involved in the Ergenekon investigation last week, Yalçın denied keeping such a document on his computer.
Another document seized from Yalçın’s computer, titled “Ulusal Medya 2010” (National Media 2010), mentioned a plan to label some press organs “pro-government.” The plan has four stages: observation, analysis, strategy and result. As a result of the plan, the “pro-government” press organs would lose credibility in the eyes of the nation.
The “strategy” stage mentioned a plan to raise suspicions about the credibility of the Ergenekon investigation. Small mistakes made by prosecutors in the investigation would be aggravated in a manner that would question the credibility of entire indictments prepared in the investigation, according to the plan.
Other documents were also found on his computer, including “Nedim,” “Sayın Komutanım” (Esteemed Commander), “Tertemiz” (Spotless), “Toplantı” (Meeting), “Sabri Uzun,” “OOO Kitap” (OOO Book), “Y Belgesi” (The Y Document) and “Abdulkadir Aygan.”
Letter: Yalçın wanted Halk TV for greater CHP popularity in media
A letter written by Yalçın on Sept. 27, 2010 showed that Yalçın had asked Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to sell Halk TV, known for its close ties to the CHP, to him so that he could help increase the CHP’s popularity among the media.
“I will not run the business by myself. This is a team effort, and my team is ready. We want Halk TV. The CHP should hand the station over to us,” the letter read. The CHP is not Halk TV’s official owner but the party shows some pro-CHP individuals as being the official owners of the channel and as providing large sums of money to fund the channel.
Halk TV stopped broadcasting earlier this month for a temporary period. The station had received regular funding from the CHP under Deniz Baykal’s tenure, but Kılıçdaroğlu declined to financially support Halk TV on the grounds that the station was being run by pro-Baykal administrators.
Yalçın counts among his “team” many famous journalists. These include Murat Ongan, Ahu Özyurt, Hakan Aygün, Murat İde, Özlem Gürses, Serdar Akman, Ruhat Mengü, Mehmet Tezkan, Mustafa Mutlu, Nilgün Cerrahoğlu, Oray Eğin, Sedat Ergin, Nihat Genç, Emin Çölaşan, Mine Kırıkkanat, Şükran Soner, Yazgülü Aldoğan, Çiğdem Toker, Özlem Çelik, Orhan Bursalı, Nuray Mert and Pınar Tüvenç. Yalçın reportedly called some of the journalists by telephone and asked for them to support his plan concerning Halk TV.
Some of the journalists confirmed Yalçın’s plan, but said they did not receive an official proposal from the jailed journalist. Ergin, a columnist for the Hürriyet daily, said he was unaware of Yalçın’s plan about Halk TV and himself. “I learned about the plan from the press,” he said.