The Supreme Court of Appeals on Friday accepted an indictment concerning a former third army commander and a prosecutor, who is currently a Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy, accusing the two men of founding and running a terrorist group.
The trial of the two suspects, retired Gen. Saldıray Berk and CHP Denizli deputy İlhan Cihaner, will be heard by the 11th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals. In addition to being charged with membership in the Ergenekon terrorist organization, the suspects face charges of forgery of official documents, threatening and illegally storing personal data. The 11th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals in April of last year decided to send a case file in which Cihaner was accused of membership in a terrorist organization to the Justice Ministry.
The chamber said a prosecutor involved in the investigation failed to receive authorization from the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) to carry out the investigation. The HSYK then allowed an investigation into Cihaner, citing serious allegations leveled against the former prosecutor in an indictment filed against him in 2010 which accused Cihaner of working to put into operation the “Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism” in Erzincan.
The action plan details a military plan to destroy the image of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) 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 arrested as part of the investigation into Ergenekon. Ergenekon is a clandestine organization nested within the state and bureaucracy with the ulterior motive of fomenting chaos in society to allow for a military takeover.
The plot mentions a subversive plan to plant ammunition and weapons in the houses of some religious communities. The munitions would later be found during a police search, and residents of those places would be accused of terrorist acts. Cihaner is also accused of falsification of documents and membership in a criminal prison.
Cihaner’s case was recently sent back to the 11th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals after the HYSK granted permission to investigate him. Although Cihaner is still a deputy and holds parliamentary immunity, his immunity does not apply when it comes to terror-related charges. The 11th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals will soon set a date for the first hearing in the trial of Cihaner and Berk.
A specially authorized prosecutor in Erzurum, Osman Şanal, launched a probe into Cihaner in 2010, arguing that Cihaner was working to put the action plan into operation in Erzincan. The plot was exposed by a Turkish daily in 2009.
According to the plot, religious communities would be presented to the public as “terrorist organizations” through subversive plans. Members of the military were to plant weapons and ammunition at the homes of followers of certain religious communities. Police raids on these addresses would result in the arrest of those individuals.