These Web sites, which are updated frequently in both Turkish and English, feature extremely nationalist propaganda against Greeks, Kurds and Armenians, as well as Turkey's own Muslim segments. They have been around for some time, standing out with their professional-looking content and design; however, these sites, rich with information, videos, photographs and documents, have never offered any contact information. So who updates these sites that vehemently propagate official ideology on a number of issues and sometimes include information considered highly confidential? Last months raids in the Ergenekon investigation have now provided the answer to this question, thanks to IT expert Hüseyin Ataman Yıldırım, who was also detained as part of the investigation. Ataman, who was also the spokesperson for the Biz Kaç Kişiyiz (How Many of Us?) movement, is a former naval officer. He is also the owner of the İstanbul-based software company Naryaz.
Ataman is also the administrator of the Web site 4000ler.trnet.com, which has retired and on-duty military officers as members. One of the members is Adm. Feyyaz Ögütçü, who, according to a National Intelligence Organi-zation (MİT) document, was one of the founders of the Karargah Houses, which the Ergenekon investigation revealed were meeting spots for army generals plotting a coup d'etat as well as homes to hide hit men and ammunition.
The Ergenekon investigation recently revealed that 35 Internet domains with similar content and design were registered with the same company.
The sites seem to have been trying to foment public opinion in line with the goals of the Ergenekon organization. The sites include www.abdullahocalanakademisi.info, apopkk.com, armenianreality.com, cameria.org, gencizbiz.net, genclik.info, gnkur.net, greekmurderers.net, irtica.net, irtica.org, naksilik.com, nursi.info, pkkapo.com, pkkgercegi.com, terorveguvenlik.net, turkatak.com and turkeyturks.com.
List of Ergenekon leaders to remain confidential
Meanwhile, judges of the 13th Higher Criminal Court, which is hearing the trial against Ergenekon, ruled on Wednesday to withhold the names included in an organizational chart of the terrorist organization.
The organizational chart, drafted in 2001 by the MİT, was submitted by the MİT to the court last year. The chart, which was published last year by the Sabah daily, did not reveal the identity of the ultimate leader of the group, but established the alleged roles of most of the organization's suspected members.
The court announced on Wednesday that the names on the Ergenekon chart would not be revealed in order to protect the right to privacy of those individuals who are named on the chart, but who are not yet facing any criminal investigation.
The court noted that the people whose identities have not yet been revealed have not made any statements about the persons who are suspects in the case. It also noted that no charges have been filed against any of the suspects based on the contents of the organizational chart in question. The reputation and rights of the individuals whose names have been hidden on the chart and whom the prosecution has not felt the need to bring charges against so far should be protected under Article 187 of the Code on Criminal Procedures (CMK), the court stated, adding that withholding an uncensored version of the original copy of the MİT chart would not hinder the ongoing trial in any way.
Tolon to stay at GATA for 3 months
Meanwhile, news reports said Gen. Hurşit Tolon, who was arrested last year for suspected links to Ergenekon and was taken to the Gülhane Military Medical Academy (GATA) in İstanbul in January due to health problems, will be hospitalized at GATA for at least three months for purposes of diagnosis.
Reports said during these three months doctors will investigate the reason for Tolon's constant dehydration.
Ertekin completes defense statement
Defendant Hayrettin Ertekin presented his defense testimony to the İstanbul 13th Higher Criminal Court on Wednesday at the 47th hearing of the Ergenekon trial, which started in October last year. Ertekin is being charged with publishing propaganda on various Internet sites, newspapers and television stations owned by his press group, Enternet.
Ertekin said Enternet was not his own personal company, stressing that he was only a partner in the company, which is based in Bulgaria. He said he wrote monthly strategy columns published online. He also argued that none of his research or articles published on the Internet contain ideas that could incite people to hostility or enmity. He said his columns were mostly about strategy issues concerning his commercial company or writings expressing his nationalist beliefs.
Words that go beyond what was meant
Defending a phone conversation he had with an army corps commander in which he said Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir "should be shot with a bullet in the head," Ertekin said he had been deeply saddened at the time by an explosion in the southeastern city that killed eight people. Stressing that his words went beyond their meaning, he explained: "This does not mean going there and shooting him in the head. This was an emotion I felt after the incident. It was said for that moment. I apologize before the court. I am ashamed for having uttered those words."
He also explained an e-mail message in which he had written, "The best Kurd is a dead Kurd," saying, "I had sent that off to a lawyer friend to establish whether it constituted a crime or not."
In response to the charge that he did not inform the authorities about the location of fugitive Emre Gülaltay, the brother of Semih Tufan Gülaltay, who was convicted of attempting to assassinate a former Human Rights Association (İHD) president, he said he had met him in China and had no idea that there was a warrant out for his arrest.
In response to the charge of having acquired a list of telephone numbers belonging to individuals who are members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), Ertekin said it was only natural that, as a businessman who had acted as a consultant to the late President Turgut Özal and his family, he would have the phone number of generals in his home.
Ersöz recording reveals 367 crisis scheme
Meanwhile, the Yeni Şafak daily reported that a scandalous voice recording of a conversation with former Chief of General Staff Gen. İsmail Hakkı Karadayı in 2007 that went public late last month was found during a search in the home of retired Gen. Levent Ersöz, who was arrested as an Ergenekon suspect in January after being on the run abroad for half a year.
The voice recording of Karadayı, which was played on Turkish television stations last month, revealed that Karadayı had asked former Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erkan Mumcu to not attend a presidential vote in Parliament in 2007, thereby ensuring the cancellation of the presidential elections to block the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) candidate from being elected.
Mumcu did not attend the presidential election in Parliament along with other opposition parties, which led to the cancellation of the vote by the Constitutional Court on the grounds that the quorum to hold a presidential vote had not been met. After the tape was released last week, Mumcu denied that his refusal to attend the voting session had been influenced by Karadayı or anyone else.