According to Taşdemir, after transferring the money to the daily, the union failed to pay its workers' salaries on time. The witness did not specify how much money was transferred to the daily or for what purpose. In order to legalize the transfer, Cumhuriyet published a supplement called “Strateji” (Strategy) for the union.
Ergenekon is a shadowy criminal network which is accused of plotting to overthrow the government. Dozens of its suspected members, including members of the military, businessmen and journalists, are standing trial on accusations of coup plotting and membership in a terrorist organization. Türk Metal Chairman Mustafa Özbek was arrested for membership in Ergenekon in 2009.
Taşdemir also said Özbek planned to purchase some shares in Cumhuriyet back in the early 2000s, but later decided not to after a disagreement with some administrators of the newspaper. He also claimed that Özbek's political views were always changing. “He was a supporter of the Nationalist Movement Party [MHP]. Then he became a supporter of the Motherland Party [ANAVATAN]. Later he had close relations with the Right Path Party [DYP], and finally he started to develop close ties with Deniz Baykal [the former chairman of the Republican People's Party]. He once said he was planning to purchase a 30 percent share of Cumhuriyet. We were shocked. Özbek's [political] views were not close to the newspaper. Then some problems emerged and he did not purchase those shares,” Taşdemir stated.
The witness also claimed that the ART TV station, a subsidiary of Türk Metal, began to receive financial aid from many big companies including Koç Holding, Mercedes, Bosh, Man Profilo and Renault. Taşdemir said Özbek had meetings with retired members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and civilians at the ART TV headquarters. Journalist Mustafa Balbay, who is a jailed Ergenekon suspect, was one of the civilians Özbek had frequent meetings with at ART TV, according to Taşdemir. “I do not if their meetings were related to Özbek's aspiration to purchase the shares of Cumhuriyet, he said.