Documents and evidence seized in raids and searches in the homes and offices of suspects during the Ergenekon investigation -- which started in the summer of 2007 and has expanded to its current state where at least 80 people are being indicted, including retired army members -- have shown that the group was linked to the assassination of Cem Ersever, a gendarmerie commander killed in November 1993 after being kidnapped.
The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office, which had investigated the Erserver murder last May, requested and received from the İstanbul Prosecutor’s Office files on Ersever, which were found during a search in the home of retired Gen. Veli Küçük, a major suspect in the investigation thought to have masterminded many of the organization’s politically motivated attacks.
Documents seized in the Ergenekon investigation and submitted to a court of law last month in a 2,455 page indictment, plus more than 400 folders of evidence supporting accusations, shed light on most of Turkey’s unresolved murder cases -- mostly assassinations of journalists, high-ranking security officials and academics -- that occurred in the 1990s. Files found on JİTEM -- a secret intelligence agency with no legitimate basis and the existence of which has been denied officially despite substantial evidence to the contrary -- include information that might be key to solving the Ersever case, even after 15 years.
Ersever’s secret archive
Ersever was a former major who left the army after Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Etref Bitlis was killed in a suspicious plane crash. Ersever, in a confession made to the press after he left the army, informed the public of figures who would later become notorious in Turkey after a car crash in 1996 in the town of Susurluk. The car crash -- in which a police chief and an internationally sought criminal were killed, and a deputy who had led a southeastern Kurdish clan armed by the state against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was seriously injured -- confirmed for the first time the Turkish public’s suspicions of a “deep state.”
Ersever’s confessions were later compiled in a number of books by author Soner Yalçın. Before his assassination, the major also said he had been in charge of JİTEM’s southeastern operations.
Ersever’s body was found in Ankara on Nov. 4, 1993. His girlfriend and right-hand man were also killed, and his archive disappeared.
The archive, which had been lost for more than a decade and reappeared in Küçük’s house, might also shed light on the unlawful activities Ersever did for JİTEM.
Prosecutor investigates PKK Ergenekon link
Ergenekon prosecutors have demanded records of all contacts the jailed founder and leader of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has had during his stay as the sole inmate of the İmralı prison island. A notice discovered by the press this week, addressing the Bursa Prosecutor’s Office and written on June 27, demands the records of all of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan’s contacts.
In the response note, Bursa prosecutors agree to share records of Öcalan meetings with his lawyers but will withhold records of his conversations with other persons, saying these should be requested directly from the İmralı Prison administration.
The news that the prosecutors have already acted comes one day after the Vatan newspaper reported that Öcalan said he has important information to share with the prosecution. The notice shows that the prosecutors have acted before him. The prosecutors have yet to decide whether to call Öcalan to testify as a witness.
The 2,455 page indictment backed by more than 400 folders of evidence against the suspected Ergenekon members, who include retired senior army generals, academics, civil society representatives, journalists and mafia leaders, draws links between the PKK and the Ergenekon network. The indictment presents evidence and witness accounts clearly suggesting that the members of the organization who formerly worked in various intelligence units of the state had used the PKK to shift public opinion in favor of their agenda, which aimed to eventually trigger a military coup.
Malatya, Dink and Santoro murders
The investigation has also uncovered evidence linking Ergenekon to the assassination of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in January of last year, the killing of Italian priest Father Andrea Santoro in February 2006 and the brutal murders of three Christians, one a German national, killed in the province of Malatya in April of last year. In all three cases, the perpetrators were uneducated, violent, ultranationalist young men. Lawyers and prosecutors have claimed obstruction of evidence on the part of security officials in the Dink and Malatya murder trials.
The Ergenekon indictment, prepared by public prosecutors Zekeriya Öz, Mehmet Ali Pekgüzel and Nihat Taşkın, also offers evidence linking the group to the murder of a secularist judge in a shooting in 2006, the attempted murder of former Higher Education Board (YÖK) President Erdoğan Teziç and a hand grenade attack at the Cumhuriyet daily, known for its staunch secularism.
“Given the purpose and consequences of these attacks, it is obvious that they were orchestrated from a single center, seeking to create chaos, anarchy, terror, disorder and conflict in Turkey and embarrass the nation before the international community,” the prosecutors wrote. They noted, however, that they had failed to offer enough evidence from the Dink, Malatya and Santoro murders due to the structure of the Ergenekon organization, which is made up of cells that are unaware of and unconnected to each other.
A master plan to create the ideal woman
One of the most curious documents seized during the Ergenekon operation is a file titled the "Turkish Woman Master Plan," depicting the ideal Turkish woman in the minds of the organization's administrators and methods to make the women in society closer to this ideal prototype.
The plan, which also lists the negative characteristics of Turkish women, says: "They are socially passive. They live in the past and have no expectations or confidence for the future." However, it also praises Turkish women, using almost literary language for their love of the motherland.
The plan to create the ideal woman makes the following observations about Turkish women: "The literacy rate of our women is very low. They have no economic independence. They have accepted poverty as an act of fate, and their personalities have been suppressed. They have no confidence. They are afraid to think, and they are in a state of laziness of thought. They are inclined to believe in superstitions. They are ineffective inside the family. They have no knowledge of our Central Asian roots. The properties of our matriarchal family structural have been erased from their minds. Their personalities are mostly cowardly or they don't care about others. They are under sexual oppression. Their religious preferences are under the influence of men."
The plan, which seeks to bring the Turkish woman to an effective position in the "social, political, economic, cultural and educational" spheres, also went into the indictment as proof of Ergenekon's social engineering plans.
Ergenekon phone transcripts reveal secrets
Meanwhile, transcripts of dozens of Ergenekon suspects monitored by the prosecution for months during the investigation have been revealing interesting secrets. Records of phone conversations of Ergenekon suspect İlhan Selçuk, publisher and chief columnist of the staunchly secularist Cumhuriyet daily, have already made public the results of a survey showing that Cumhuriyet's readers did not read the daily's columnists, contrary to what had been published previously.
In the transcript, Selçuk tells the person on the other end of the line that a survey has shown that nobody is interested in their columnists, but that he will order a false report prepared showing the opposite of this. In another conversation, he praises an Ak?am columnist for an anti-religion article, saying, "Yes he is smart, but he is a homosexual."