Ultranationalist Sedat Peker was interrogated on Wednesday in İstanbul for 10 hours over his links to a retired general who was detained as part of an investigation into a gang that has shady links to groups secreted within the state. These groups are commonly referred to as the deep state in Turkey, a vague definition of a phenomenon whereby individuals and groups occupying various positions in the state take justice into their own hands to shape Turkey in accordance with their political convictions. The investigation of the gang, which calls itself Ergenekon after a legend of how Turks came into being, has resulted in evidence showing that the gang was preparing the way for a coup d'état in Turkey in 2009.
With the purpose of creating chaos in the country and thus an atmosphere suitable for a military takeover, the group staged a number of attacks and murders whose perpetrators remain unknown as well as others in which the assailants have been found. They are also suspected of being behind the murder of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
In January of this year, 39 suspects were arrested during raids on the gang, including retired Gen. Veli Küçük, who the two prosecutors on the case say has connections with Peker. On Wednesday, Peker was brought to İstanbul from Kandıra Prison in Kocaeli to answer prosecutors’ questions about his 15-year relationship with Küçük and whether it is mere coincidence that a real estate company owned by Peker is named Ergenekon.
Küçük in his interrogation had said Peker is the “son of a friend.” The prosecutors say the two became acquainted between the years 1993 and 1996, when Küçük was serving in the military as a regiment commander of the gendarmerie in Kocaeli, where a number of mysterious and unresolved murders were committed during the aforementioned time period.