It is also expected that as a result of this development, the flag-burning case against six young suspects, which is still in progress in Mersin, may be merged with trial of Ergenekon, a shadowy network nested within the state apparatus aiming to overthrow the government through provocation and preparing the groundwork for a military coup.
Ali Dinseven, the lawyer of the six youths who were in prison for four months, could not attend school after incident and are currently on trial for attempting to burn the flag, recalled that since the very beginning, his clients had insisted that a "man in a brown suit gave them a flag and asked them to burn it."
"From the beginning we insisted that our clients, who are just children, were the victims of provocation, but only after the Ergenekon case, did we start to be taken seriously," Dinseven said.
He added that after the publication of the Ergenekon indictment, in which a secret witness mentioned the flag burning case, they asked the court in Mersin to take into consideration the testimony of the secret witness.
According to the indictment, secret witness number 17 claimed that Ali Kutlu, one of the suspects arrested in the Ergenekon investigation and a member of the Association for the Union of Patriotic Forces (VKGB), told him that flags were burned by the VKGB in order to provoke the public.
Dinseven said they had requested that the court investigate "the man in the brown suit" since the trial began.
"But until recently, police forces told the court that they could not identify him. Pictures of Ali Kutlu were sent from the İstanbul Ergenekon trial, and the police in Mersin compared the pictures of him with the pictures that were taken at the Nevruz [celebrations] in 2005. There were pictures in which a man was giving the flag to the children. It was published in newspapers, too. Finally, the police in Mersin sent a report to İstanbul and informed the court in Mersin that Ali Kutlu is most likely the person in the brown suit," he said.
A Turkish flag was burned during Nevruz celebrations in Mersin in 2005.
Dinseven added that after these developments, they asked the court in Mersin to merge the flag burning case Ergenekon case. He noted that Kutlu had not yet given his testimony in the Ergenekon trial and that the court in Mersin must ask the opinion of the court in İstanbul.
"This means that time is needed. This is why our next hearing will be in April, and most likely, the two cases will be merged as we requested from the court," he added.
The Ergenekon indictment claims that Mersin has special importance for the Ergenekon gang in its efforts to foment chaos in Turkey.
"It is a very well-known fact that the flag demonstration in Mersin was seen as even more provocative after the attempted flag burning in 2005 at the Nevruz celebrations. The association [VKGB] selected Mersin as the pilot site, especially because of the efforts of Mesut Sezer, the chairman of its Mersin branch," the indictment notes.
It adds that the Kuvayi Milliye (National Forces) oath-taking ceremony, in which members agree to kill and die, took place at the Mersin branch of the Kuvayi Milliye Association, an ultranationalist organization with links to the Ergenekon gang.
"It is noteworthy that the oath ceremony containing pledges of violence took place in Mersin, where there was a sharp increase in the population of Kurdish citizens who migrated from the eastern part [of Turkey]. Another formation of the Ergenekon terror organization in the category of civil society organizations is the Association for the Union of Patriotic Forces, which urged local villagers in Mersin to engage in war, with the claim that Mersin was under the control of the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party] PKK. Within this context they tried to organize mass demonstrations and protests in the city," the indictment states.
The Nevruz events and flag-burning incident in 2005 drew strong criticism at the time from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), then-President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the government.
A day after the Nevruz celebrations in Mersin, the Office of the Chief of General Staff released a harsh statement, pointing out that the TSK will protect the Turkish flag until the last drop of its blood is shed.
President Sezer also made a statement condemning the persons who tried to burn the Turkish flag, which, he said, is a symbol of the indivisibility of the nation.
One year after the Nevruz incident, on April 15, 2006, a large demonstration called Respect the Flag -- for which almost 80,000 people gathered and which was allegedly organized by Ergenekon -- raised tensions in the city once again. The Ergenekon indictment suggests that 4,000 military personnel also participated in the demonstration.
The indictment indicates that Sezer, while trying to convince the villagers to participate in the demonstration in April 2006, told them that within two years it would be impossible to call Mersin a Turkish city. He allegedly said, "This is a war of independence, and everyone with Turkish blood must participate in this war."
A telephone conversation that was recorded and is part of the Ergenekon indictment indicates that the VKGB ensured that military personnel would participate in the demonstration.
In the conversation, one VKGB member noted: "There were 4,000 soldiers in the Mersin demonstration. No one was aware of it." To which another VKGB member replied: "First we made the soldiers march. Then civilians participated, and we withdrew the soldiers."