Önder Aytaç, an instructor at the Police Academy in Ankara, said Ergenekon's links to the police should be exposed in order to truly fight the illegal network.
He said such illegal structures have legs in the military, the police, the judiciary, corporations and the media. "The first basic course new police officers take in the United States shows a video about organized crime networks. It notes that such structures need to be in touch with the police to find breathing room."
An investigation into Ergenekon, which has been accused of orchestrating various murders and attacks with the intention of creating chaos that would trigger a coup, revealed the names of a number of retired military officials who are suspected of being involved in the gang. One of them is retired Gen. Veli Küçük, the suspected leader. Aytaç said according to the Ergenekon indictment, which was made public in July, Küçük spoke over the phone with a high-ranking Justice Ministry official. Aytaç also said anybody who has been involved in dirty business among the police would be known by others and that what he or she had done could not be forgotten.
“You cannot erase the security forces’ memory. It’s like a computer’s memory. For example, if a police chief received a complaint about someone for being a homosexual in 1988 and if a similar report was written again 10 years later, everyone would know that the second report was written by the same person who wrote it in 1988. So someone in the police, if involved in a crime gang would be spotted easily by others.”
Aytaç said police had filed some assassinations as “unresolved” even though their perpetrators are known publicly. He claimed that the police know who is behind the murders of investigative journalist Uğur Mumcu, journalist Ahmet Taner Kışlalı and Professor Bahriye Üçok, all of them killed by bombs.
“I gave courses to 240 bomb specialists in Turkey. They say similar explosives are being used in similar assassinations. If the government can support an investigation into many of those cases, they would be solved,” Aytaç said.
‘Turkey is different today’
According to Aytaç, today’s Turkey is different from that of the 1960s, the ‘70s and the ‘80s because “more average Anatolians” have started to own the country through investing in their lives. “The children of Anatolians started to become judges, prosecutors, police chiefs, lieutenant colonels and colonels. They side with democracy.”
According to Aytaç people are more scared to be involved in illegal structures because of YouTube and small technological devices that make monitoring and recording easy. In addition, he said the media is more diverse as opposed to the period of Feb. 28 [1997, often referred to as the post-modern coup] and the coup in 1960.
“But we have people in the media linked to Ergenekon. There may be more revelations about this. This is a fight between good and evil,” he said.
Aytaç also said people are more conscious and do not believe in everything they hear and see.
“When there is an explosion or when there is an assassination or when there is a religious leader provoking the public, people ask who the forces behind them are,” he said.
Referring to Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu, who was involved in ultra-nationalist gangs previously, Aytaç said: “He says they were trying to save the country but following the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, the state cracked down on them along with leftists. He says he would never do what he had done before.”
The investigation into Ergenekon began in the summer of 2007, when the police discovered a house in İstanbul being used as an arms depot. As the investigation expanded, another house in the central Anatolian city of Eskişehir was discovered to have held a large number of explosives, weapons and ammunition.
During a raid of the home, police found lists of people compiled by various intelligence agencies that categorized them according to their political affiliation. Many such lists were prepared by the military’s intelligence departments in 1999 and 2000 as part of the Feb. 28 process, which started in 1997 when the military overthrew the government in an unarmed intervention.
More than 40 people are currently under arrest, accused of having links to the Ergenekon gang.
Suspects will start appearing before the 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.