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July 18, 2008, Friday

Turkey’s dark past and Ergenekon

The investigation into the Ergenekon terrorist organization, which has so far seen the detention of a former gendarmerie commander and many other generals, provides an extraordinary chance to grapple with the dark face of our near past.
It is known that all NATO members, particularly those most prominent by reason of their geopolitical position, established secret counter-guerilla organizations against communism. However, it is still not exactly known whether these organizations took on different identities by changing their appearance or were completely purged after the collapse of the communist bloc and the end of the Cold War. Some countries like Italy managed to dispose of their clandestine organizations (Gladio in the case of that country) with a successful purge. But what about the rest? And in particular, what about Turkey?

Although debated from time to time, Turkey has unfortunately never made this subject a serious part of its agenda, even though sinister developments, unknown murders, political killings, bloody provocations and anti-democratic social engineering efforts provided us with innumerable opportunities to dig deep into what became of our secret anti-communism organization. The Ergenekon investigation, therefore, presents one more vital chance to deal with the reality we have neglected for decades and even forces all of us to face it.

During the Ergenekon investigation, we should take down from dusty shelves all the dismal events beginning from the unsolved murders of famous journalists such as Abdi İpekçi, Çetin Emeç, Musa Anter, Uğur Mumcu, Ahmet Taner Kışlalı and Tarık Dursun, those of Gendarmerie Commander Eşref Bitlis, businessman Özdemir Sabancı, academics Bahriye Üçok and Necip Hablemitoğlu, the Council of State attack and the Atabeyler and Sauna gangs. And in light of the terrifying findings and documents found during the investigation, we should re-question the assassination of Hamit Fendoğlu in Malatya, an attempt to fan the flames of the right-left and Alevi-Sunni conflicts of the 1970s, the Maraş events, the Çorum events, the massacre of May 1, 1977, the arson of the Madımak Hotel in Sivas and the Gazi neighborhood events -- every single event we thought we had untangled. In the meantime, we should blow off the dust that has gathered on the dozens of cases of unsolved murders perpetrated in the Adapazarı-İzmit-Sapancı axis of death during the 1990s.

We should go even deeper and comprehensively question under what sort of conditions the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was founded, who the Hizbullah terrorist organization, which killed hundreds in the 1990s, was founded by and try to see who is behind some allegedly religious and allegedly leftist terrorist organizations such as the Islamic Great East Raiders Front (İBDA-C) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C). Of course, I’m not trying to say that the sole responsible power behind all these ominous events and organizations is Ergenekon. However, it is impossible to not be deeply suspicious about there being an Ergenekon-like structure behind the creation of an atmosphere in which all these dark organizations found the right circumstances that helped them grow.

Legend has it that the deliverance of the Turkish tribe from the Ergenekon Plain in Central Asia happened with the guidance of a she-wolf named Asena. Who knows? Maybe Turkey, through the guidance of the Ergenekon investigation, can be saved from the shackles of its gloomy past, which has turned its near past into a collection of embarrassing events, and from the yoke of the grim formations with extensions into the state. I don’t see why it cannot be possible for Ergenekon, a place of incarceration, to turn into a savior Asena through a determined fight against dark formations.

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