Cumhuriyet daily columnist Mumcu, a leading figure in investigative journalism, was killed by a remote-controlled bomb placed under his car on Jan. 24, 1993. He was long believed to have been assassinated by Islamic extremists. Documents seized from Ergenekon suspect Veli Küçük’s house that were included in the evidence section of the Ergenekon indictment explain in detail that Mumcu was killed while he was investigating how 100,000 firearms ended up in the hands of men under Jalal Talabani, one of the Kurdish leaders of northern Iraq. Eşref Bitlis, a senior general who was investigating the same issue, died in a plane accident 25 days after Mumcu. Experts’ reports on the accident indicated that the incident was most likely caused by sabotage.
The report found in the house of Küçük -- a retired general who is one of the prime suspects and possibly one of the leaders of the Ergenekon organization - is now part of the nearly 2,500-page Ergenekon indictment. Küçük’s document reads: “In January of 1991, an interesting message was delivered from the [state weapons manufacturer] Turkish Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation [MKEK] demanding that the serial numbers of 100,000 firearms be erased in an operation that would be conducted ‘very secretly.’ After the operation, which lasted four nights, a senior ranking official who said, ‘I am a JİTEM [a shady gendarmerie intelligence unit whose existence is denied by officials] commander,’ received the guns from me. One day before the guns were brought to the Iraqi border on Jan. 15, 1991, forces under the command of gendarmerie Col. Coşkun Kıvrak brought under siege nearly 700 Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] supporters.
However, an order from Ankara at this point demanded the soldiers be pulled back. The reason for this was the risk that an armed clash could attract attention to the arms delivery. When Col. Kıvrak and some other soldiers reviewed the order, which was also sent to MKEK officials, they were shocked. In a later period, one of the soldiers there that day photocopied the file and sent it to journalist Mumcu."
Mumcu's fatal mistake
In the same document, a chapter with the title "Uğur Mumcu's Mistake" has a record of a number of phone calls Mumcu made to confirm the validity of the document that had been sent to him. When the person who sent the file to Mumcu found out about the phone calls he made, he called him, saying: "The end of this is very shady. Do you want to die?" and demanded that he forget about the file. On Jan. 23, Kıvrak spent an entire day trying to get in contact with Mumcu. However, he gave up after several attempts. He left a note with Mumcu's secretary, which said: "It is a matter of life and death. You have to see me." Mumcu never had the chance to see Kıvrak as he was killed the next day by the car bomb planted under his automobile. His death came exactly two years after the "very secret" message sent to the MKEK.
Gen. Eşref Bitlis was killed in connection with the same firearms, the document suggests. In addition to Bitlis, gendarmerie Maj. Cem Ersever was also allegedly killed for knowing about Ergenekon's gun sales to armed Kurdish groups.
Too many irregularities in records of Ergenekon-linked associations
Associations chaired by individuals detained during the Ergenekon investigation have been inspected by auditors from the Interior Ministry upon a request from Prosecutor Zekeriya Öz.
In most of the investigations, associations hid necessary documents from inspectors, saying the documents were seized during the Ergenekon operation and that inspectors should request them from the prosecutor's office. However, further investigations revealed that the police have not seized any documents that might be of interest to state auditors and that the administrators have been trying to hide the documents from auditors by making false statements. The audit reports on these associations have been included in the indictment. These associations include the Ayasofya Association, headed by Ergenekon suspect Sevgi Erenerol; the Grand Attorneys Association, chaired by Ergenekon suspect Kemal Kerinçsiz; the Nationalist Forces Association and the Nationalist Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (USİAD).
Grand Attorneys Association Deputy Chairman Mehmet Demirlek did not share any of his organization's records with the auditors, citing as an excuse their chairman being in jail since January of this year. He said a large number of documents have been seized during the detention of Kerinçsiz. However, a query from the Interior Ministry at the prosecutor's office showed that none of the documents the auditors wanted to see were seized during the investigation.
Irregularities revealed during the investigation include necessary stamps lacking on the organizations' records, the first general assembly meeting of the association was not done in full compliance with legal procedures, people who are not members were elected to the association's branches, and the year-end financial statement includes false figures. Similar problems were found with the Kuvvacılar Association, the Grand Force Union Association, the Private Security Sector Businessmen's Union Association, the New National Forces Movement Association, the Association of National Forces Warriors and the New Protection of Rights Association.
Background: The Ergenekon indictment in a nutshell
The indictment made public last month claims the Ergenekon network is behind a series of earth-shattering political assassinations over the past two decades. The victims include a secularist journalist, Uğur Mumcu, long believed to have been assassinated by Islamic extremists in 1993; the head of a business conglomerate, Özdemir Sabancı, who was shot dead by militants of the extreme-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) in his high-security office in 1996; secularist academic Necip Hablemitoğlu, who was also believed to have been killed by Islamic extremists, in 2002; and a 2006 attack on the Council of State that left a senior judge dead. Alparslan Arslan, found guilty of the Council of State killing, said he attacked the court in protest of an anti-headscarf ruling it had made. But the indictment contains evidence that he was connected with Ergenekon and that his family received large sums of money from unidentified sources after the shooting.
The indictment also says Veli Küçük, believed to be one of the leading members of the network, had threatened Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist slain by a teenager in 2007, before his murder -- a sign that Ergenekon could be behind that murder as well.
The Ergenekon indictment accuses a total 86 suspects, 47 of whom are currently in custody, of links with the gang. Suspects will begin appearing in court as of Oct. 20 and will face accusations that include "membership in an armed terrorist group," "attempting to destroy the government," "inciting people to rebel against the Republic of Turkey" and other similar crimes.
Ergenekon evidence supports Örnek’s coup diary claims
A controversial journal allegedly kept by former Adm. Özden Örnek, giving a detailed description of a number of generals' attempts to stage a coup d'état against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in 2004, have not made their way into the indictment, but documents found during raids on the homes and offices of Ergenekon suspect Muzaffer Tekin, a retired captain, support the allegation that the generals were indeed seeking to stage a coup.
A file found in Tekin's archive in which every single word of officers serving as force commanders at the time has been meticulously noted includes minutes from a two-day July 2003 meeting of a number of generals. According to the minutes, the then chief of general staff, Fleet Commander Örnek and Aegean Army Commander Gen. Hurşit Tolon (currently in custody as part of an investigation into Ergenekon, a crime network), the commander of the War Academies and the commanders of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd armies participated in the meeting. Notes from the meeting and speeches made by the commanders establish the facts noted in the journal allegedly belonging to Özden. The journal was made public when the March 29, 2007 issue of Nokta magazine published lengthy excerpts from it, allegedly written by Adm. Örnek. According to the journal, some former force commanders had planned two separate coups under in 2003 and 2004.
Ergenekon officers promoted
Two officers whose names are included in the indictment of a criminal network named Ergenekon were promoted during a Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meeting that concluded yesterday. The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) prepared a report on Ergenekon in 2002 that included an organizational chart detailing the hierarchy within Ergenekon. The report was submitted to the General Staff in July 2003 and then to the Prime Ministry in November 2003. Famous politicians and journalists as well some members of the military were included in the chart, a report released by Taraf daily last month showed. Officers Ramazan Cem Gürdeniz and Serdar Okan Kırçiçek were among the military members in MİT’s Ergenekon report who were promoted. Others members of the military mentioned in the report but not promoted include Bekir Kalyoncu, Deniz Kutluk and Ali Feyyaz Öğütçü.