Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who last week said he would like to become a member of Ergenekon -- a clandestine gang charged with plotting to overthrow the government -- may now be after the votes of those who support another shady group, the Susurluk gang, whose existence was exposed following a car crash in 1996.
The brother of one of the suspects in the Susurluk affair has claimed that he has been offered a chance to run for Parliament under the CHP’s roof.
Hüseyin Kocadağ, a former police chief; Sedat Bucak, a southeastern clan leader whose men were armed by the state to fight separatist violence; and Abdullah Çatlı, an internationally wanted mafia boss, were involved in an accident in 1996 near the small township of Susurluk while riding in the same car.
Kocadağ, Çatlı and his girlfriend, a former model, were killed in the accident. Bucak was severely injured, but claimed to have amnesia and no recollection of the events before or during the accident in the ensuing investigation. No serious arrests followed the probe, which exposed, for the first time in modern Turkish history, a gang with links to the state.
Ahmet Bucak, Sedat Bucak’s brother and his successor as leader of the Bucak clan, told the Taraf daily that he had been offered a parliamentary nomination by the CHP. “But we are gravitating toward running as independents,” he told Taraf. He also said that the clan was still evaluating the proposal.
If Bucak accepts the proposal, he will be the CHP’s Şanlıurfa deputy candidate in the June 2011 general elections. He also said he had received proposals regarding other positions and was considering all of them, but that the dominant opinion in the family was that Bucak should run as an independent.
Taraf also claimed that contact with Bucak caused discord within the CHP, with some party members claiming that the clan’s links to the Susurluk gang and its not-so-clean track record in the Southeast might damage the CHP. There are similar concerns inside the clan, the daily wrote, saying some family members are concerned that their affiliation with the CHP might decrease voter interest in Bucak family candidates.
This comes one week after Kılıçdaroğlu said he would become a member of Ergenekon, in a statement made in defense of the suspects who are currently being held in Silivri Prison. The suspects include ex-military officers as well as those who are currently on duty and civilians, including journalists, bureaucrats and even university rectors and professors. The CHP leader’s statement has been received with distaste by southeastern voters, who have been victims of a long-lasting campaign of oppression conducted by illegal structures inside the gendarmerie that are believed to have deep links to Ergenekon.
Meanwhile, CHP Şanlıurfa Provincial Branch leader Vedat Melik said the provincial administration had not made any proposals to Bucak. “Neither my organization nor I have made such a proposal. If someone else has, I wouldn’t know about that,” he stated.
There are many links between Ergenekon and Susurluk. Retired Brig. Gen. Veli Küçük, who is currently in jail for suspected membership in Ergenekon, was detained but then released during the Susurluk investigation. Küçük is not the only link between the Susurluk affair and Ergenekon, whose suspected leaders and members currently face charges of “membership in an armed terrorist group,” “attempting to bring down the government,” “inciting people to rebel against the Republic of Turkey” and other similar allegations.