An active duty colonel whose signature appears on a suspected military plot to discredit the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the faith-based Gülen movement was rearrested on Friday on charges of attempting to overthrow the government as well as membership in a terrorist government.
The colonel is accused of working to overthrow the government as well as membership in a terrorist organization. An arrest warrant was issued for Col. Çiçek on Thursday after İstanbul Deputy Chief Prosecutor Turan Çolakkadı accepted the indictment regarding the subversive plot and forwarded it to the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The colonel arrived at the Beşiktaş Courthouse in İstanbul yesterday afternoon with his daughter, a lawyer, in a military vehicle.
After a warrant was issued for his arrest by the İstanbul Public Prosecutor's Office, Col. Dursun Çiçek arrived at the Beşiktaş Courthouse in İstanbul yesterday afternoon in a military vehicle with his daughter, a lawyer. The colonel is accused of working to overthrow the government as well as membership in a terrorist organization
Çiçek was arrested twice, first in July and then in November, for suspected links to a terrorist organization but was released after brief detentions in jail. The colonel is believed to be key to exposing the pro-coup junta within the armed forces. The 184-page indictment spells out the details of the suspected plot, titled the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism, and labels the colonel as the “number two man” behind the document. The prime suspect is cited as former İstanbul mayor and Ergenekon suspect-at-large Bedrettin Dalan.
Ergenekon is a shadowy organization nested within the state and bureaucracy with the ulterior motive of fomenting chaos in society to lead to a military takeover.
The indictment recommends life sentences without the possibility of parole for Dalan and Col. Çiçek on charges of working to bring down the government and membership in a terrorist organization.
The action plan was first exposed by a Turkish daily last year. The document details a Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) plan to destroy the image of the AK Party government and the Gülen movement in the eyes of the public, to play down the Ergenekon investigation and to gather support for members of the military as part of the investigation into Ergenekon. Col. Çiçek is believed to be one of the key figures in the plot row.
The original version of the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism is currently at the İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office. The document’s authenticity was long disputed, but it was confirmed by several institutions including the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK), the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), the İstanbul Police Crime Laboratory and the Gendarmerie General Command’s Criminal Investigation Department.
Former İstanbul Mayor Bedrettin Dalan, named as a suspect at large in the Ergenekon investigation, was spotted at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in November 2009.
Ergenekon fugitive Dalan to be coup prime minister
According to the indictment, Ergenekon suspect Dalan was to become the prime minister after an expected military takeover.
The former mayor was responsible for developing international relations for Ergenekon, according to the indictment. The indictment also accuses Dalan of contributing to plans to destroy the government through acts of violence.
Dalan is the founder of the İstek Foundation, on whose land in Poyrazköy a large number of weapons and a sizable amount of ammunition was found buried last year in an excavation carried out as part of the investigation into Ergenekon. Turkey applied for an Interpol red notice against Dalan earlier this year, but Interpol decided to circulate a fugitive diffusion instead.
According to the indictment, Dalan was tipped off by a National Intelligence Organization (MİT) employee that he was to be detained as part of an Ergenekon operation in October 2008 and fled Turkey. Since then, the ex-mayor has received regular “warnings” not to return to Turkey.
The indictment also claims that Dalan learned about the result of a closure case against the AK Party around one hour before the Constitutional Court announced its decision. In a phone conversation recording, Dalan tells a woman, identified as Arzu, that the ruling party would not be shut down. “It will not be shut down, with five votes for and six votes against. I learned it one hour ago. I just called to inform you,” Dalan is quoted as saying.
The indictment describes Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a “victim.” The document mentions five other suspects: Dalan’s secretary İlhami Ümit Handan, lawyer Serdar Öztürk, MİT official Ö.Y., head of security at Ulusal TV Ufuk Akkaya and Aydınlık Editor-in-Chief Deniz Yıldırım. The indictment calls for jail terms of at least seven-and-a-half years for the suspects.
AK Party deputies İdris Naim Şahin and Hasan Hüseyin Tanrıverdi, now-defunct Democratic Society Party (DTP) leader Ahmet Türk, former DTP deputy Aysel Tuğluk, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Hasip Kaplan, lawyer Süleyman Küçüksucu, Kayseri Bar Association head Ali Aydın and former head of the Sivas Bar Association Mustafa Coşkun are cited as “co-plaintiffs” in the indictment.
Turkish broadcasters claimed on Friday that AK Party Deputy Chairman Hüseyin Çelik is planning to file a lawsuit against Col. Çiçek.
The first hearing of the trial is slated for June 28. The hearings of the case will be held in the Silivri courthouse where the hearings in the ongoing Ergenekon cases are also held. The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court announced that it would assess the prosecutors’ demand to merge the case with Ergenekon later.
Dalan’s control over politicians
The indictment also reveals the ex-mayor’s influence over a number of Turkish politicians, including Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and former True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Ağar.
According to the document, Dalan is cited as saying: “Ağar is like my brother. I supported him much in televised programs.” The ex-mayor also says the former DYP leader was totally under his control and would not take serious steps without his permission.
In the document, Dalan is reported to have told retired Gen. Levent Ersöz, also an Ergenekon suspect, that military members should not be “democratic.”
“There is no practical democracy in the world. Democracy is a game. It is a show. No real democracy exists. Why was [US President John F.] Kennedy killed? Because he wanted to spoil the order of the American bourgeoisie. He was warned, but he continued. Thus, he got shot in the forehead,” Dalan apparently said.
The indictment also argues that the ex-mayor pressured members of the İstanbul Bar Association, which is known for its antidemocratic positions, to discredit the Ergenekon investigation in the eyes of the public.
“Let me put it straight. As the [İstanbul Bar] Association, you have not raised their voice against people’s pretrial detention in prison for periods of more than one-and-a-half years. Is it not a sort of extrajudicial killing to delay justice for so long?” Dalan asks a female member of the association, identified as Berra B., in a phone conversation.
In response, Berra B. says: “You are right. We had a meeting yesterday evening. We discussed taking the issue to the European Court of Human Rights.”
The İstanbul Bar Association has been a strong critic of the Ergenekon probe, accusing civilian prosecutors overseeing the probe of being opponents of the military, implying that the probe has turned into an operation against the TSK.