Forensic report confirms authenticity of Cage plan

Lt. Col. Ercan Kireçtepe, whose signature appears on the Cage plan, was arrested during an investigation in April into a hidden arms cache in Poyrazköy.

December 01, 2009, Tuesday/ 15:29:00
A document known as the Cage plan, which plots to assassinate non-Muslim community leaders, allegedly prepared by a group in the military, appears to be authentic, according to a report by the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK). The report has also established that the signature that appears on the document belongs to Lt. Col. Ercan Kireçtepe.

According to the report, a comparison of his signature on the document and those he gave as part of the investigation leave no room for doubt that they belong to the same person. The Cage plan was exposed during a police raid on the office of retired Maj. Levent Bektaş as part of a probe launched after the discovery of a large arms cache in İstanbul's Poyrazköy district in April, within the framework of the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine organization accused of plotting to overthrow the government. The Cage Operation Action Plan sought to intimidate Turkey's non-Muslims and assassinate prominent non-Muslim figures to put domestic and international pressure on the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which would in turn lead to diminishing public support for the party.

The Cage document also includes plans to use prostitutes to blackmail many naval officers. Bombing museums visited by children and pointing the finger at religious groups was also one of the steps the document listed to carry out the Cage plan. Lt. Col. Kireçtepe, whose signature appears on the document, was arrested during April's Poyrazköy investigation.

The discovery of the Cage plan follows the exposure of a similar military plot called the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism, which details a Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) plan to destroy the image of the AK Party government and the faith-based Gülen movement in the eyes of the public, to play down the Ergenekon investigation and to gather support for members of the military arrested as part of the investigation into Ergenekon. Dozens of Ergenekon members, including businessmen, members of the military and journalists, are currently incarcerated while standing trial. A colonel named Dursun Çiçek is believed to be one of the key figures in the plot row. He has been arrested and released twice during the investigation. His release was met with a high level of frustration and outrage. His signature appears on the action plan. The prosecutors are still investigating who gave the colonel the order to prepare such a plan.

Meanwhile, Maj. Nedim E., the head of the Erzincan Provincial Gendarmerie Command’s Intelligence Directorate, was arrested on Nov. 25. His arrest follows those of two others from the same unit last week. These arrests occurred during operations into gendarmerie accommodation facilities in Erzincan. One of the arrestees was identified as E.E., a senior lieutenant who serves as the deputy chief of the gendarmerie intelligence department in Erzincan. Weapons and ammunition were found in his home during the operation.

The other officer detained in the operation was identified as O.E., also from the Erzincan Gendarmerie Command’s Intelligence Directorate. Although they served in Erzincan, a special prosecutor from Erzurum is conducting the probe. Maj. Nedim E. has also testified to the same prosecutor. There have not been any details on Nedim E.’s interrogation, but prosecutors have stated that neither O.E. nor E.E. chose to speak during their initial interrogations last week. They were placed in the Erzurum Military Prison after being arrested on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

The specially authorized Erzurum Prosecutor’s Office announced that three guns whose origins are yet to be established and bullets for said guns as well as a large number of bullets for Kalashnikov rifles were found in the homes of O.E. and E.E. Documents, CDs and external hard disks belonging to the two men were also ceased in the investigation.

Investigators look into admirals

Meanwhile, the prosecutors conducting the investigation are now focusing on admirals Feyyaz Öğütçü, Kadir Sağdıç and Fatih Ilgar, who are frequently mentioned in the Cage plan. However, none of the admirals have testified to civilian prosecutors yet, according to a recent statement by İstanbul Deputy Chief Prosecutor Turan Çolakkadı. So far, two colonels and a lieutenant colonel have been questioned and arrested as part of the Cage plan investigation.

Adm. Öğütçü’s name appears in Operation Cage documents as “the president.” Öğütçü was forced to retire at this August’s Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meeting, reportedly due to his suspected ties to Ergenekon.

Öğütçü was thought to be the most likely candidate to become the new naval forces commander. Observers believe the reason behind his retirement was his links to Ergenekon. According to a National Intelligence Organization (MİT) document, Öğütçü was one of the founders of the Karargah houses, which the Ergenekon investigation has revealed were meeting spots for generals plotting a coup d’état in addition to housing hit men and serving as storage places for munitions.

Öğütçü was implicated in the placement of blocks of TNT and other explosives at the bottom of a submarine exhibited at the Rahmi M. Koç Museum. The TNT and other explosives were found by police in July after a document was discovered on a computer owned by a suspect previously detained as part of the Ergenekon probe. The explosives were to be detonated while a group of students visited the museum.

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