18 April 2014, Friday
Today's Zaman

New dossier reveals Ergenekon's murderous deeds

30 April 2009, Thursday /TODAY'S ZAMAN
The leaders of Ergenekon, a clandestine terrorist organization charged with plotting to overthrow the government, masterminded the plan to kill a Turkish-Armenian journalist in January 2007, as well as the murders of dozens of people whose bodies were dumped at a crossroad in Sapanca, near İstanbul, according to new evidence compiled by the prosecution that was made public on Monday.

The dossiers of evidence from the second indictment in the trial of the suspected members of Ergenekon were handed to defense attorneys on Monday evening.

Metin Doğan, a former noncommissioned military officer who testified as a witness in the murder trial of three Christian missionaries brutally killed in Malatya, has testified for the prosecution in the Ergenekon case. According to Doğan's testimony, retired Gen. Veli Küçük, a prime suspect in the Ergenekon investigation, confessed that his people had plans to kill Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who would later be shot to death in broad daylight outside his newspaper's office in 2007.

In his testimony to the Ergenekon prosecutors from Jan. 5, 2009, Doğan said in a meeting he had with Küçük, the former general expressed his disapproval of Dink and Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's only Nobel laureate author, saying the two men spoke badly about the Turkish nation.

According to his testimony, Doğan, who was a technical noncommissioned officer in the air force, started his post in 2001 and left the army in 2003. After that, he started engaging in "illegal affairs," with a former deputy. It was during this time that he met Küçük in his office. Doğan said retired Capt. Muzaffer Tekin, another former military officer currently jailed as an Ergenekon suspect, was also present in this meeting. In a subsequent meeting, a man named Osman accompanied them. Also in this meeting, Küçük told Doğan's deputy patron that three Christians in Malatya had to be killed because of their missionary activities. In this conversation, Küçük also told Doğan that the "Dink deal" would be easy, adding that even the hit man had been chosen. The prosecution believes the person named Osman Doğan mentioned in his testimony might be Ergenekon suspect Osman Gürbüz, who was the would-be hit man for an alleged assassination the group planned for Pamuk.

Sapanca executions

Another witness' testimony included in the new dossiers suggests that Ergenekon is also responsible for a series of mysterious killings of mostly Kurdish businessmen in 1993 and 1994 in the Sapanca area, referred to as the death triangle because most of the bodies were dumped in the region between Sapanca, Hendek and Gebze.

The victims killed in the death triangle include Kurdish businessman Behçet Cantürk, who was allegedly involved in drug trafficking, and his driver, Recep Kuzucu. Cantürk was kidnapped by men in police uniforms on Jan. 14, 1994. The bodies were found in a park in Sapanca the next day. Attorney Yusuf Ekinci, who was allegedly close to Cantürk, was also found dead in Ankara on Feb. 25, 1994.

According to the testimony of this witness, who used the code name Poyraz (Northern Wind) due to safety concerns, Sedat Peker, a mafia gang leader also implicated in Ergenekon, ordered the death of Tolga Atalay, who was killed in Muğla. In his testimony, Poyraz claimed that Atalay called him shortly before his death and said: "Peker has acted together with Veli Küçük; they have done so many things. All of the bodies dumped at the Sapanca crossroads were the work of our organization. One of those killed was Cantürk. They used me and now they have decided to do me in." Poyraz said Atalay was killed by Peker in the Datça district of Muğla after speaking against his boss, apparently under the influence of alcohol.

The second murder case in the death triangle involved Savaş Buldan, who was kidnapped along with his friends Adnan Yıldırım and Hacı Karay in İstanbul on June 2, 1994. The bodies of the victims were found in Bolu on June 4. Savaş Buldan was the husband of a Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputy, Fatma Buldan.

On March 27, 1994, Fevzi Aslan, a car dealer in İstanbul, and his nephew, Salih Aslan, were detained by men who introduced themselves as police officers. They were found dead in Sakarya the next day. A ballistics investigation revealed that the gun used in the murder of Cantürk and was the same gun that killed Fevzi and Salih Aslan.

On Feb. 4, 2007, a male body was found in Hendek. The body has still not been identified.

Other people killed in the death triangle include Enis Karaduman, Mustafa Çapar and Ekrem Çaylan.

Ergenekon leaked info to terrorists

The new dossiers include evidence that Ergenekon gave information to terrorists during an attack on the Aktütün military outpost by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Oct. 3, 2008.

Another testimonial transcript included in the second indictment's additional dossiers claims that a terrorist using the code name Ape Hüseyin frequently contacted a noncommissioned army officer named Kadri Çelik, who provided information to the PKK militant. According to ex-PKK commander Bülent Dumlu, who testified on Dec. 4, 2008, to the İstanbul Police Department, Çelik was also in constant contact with PKK leader Murat Karayılan, as well as other members of the Turkish military. Çelik left the military, but he still was in contact with some members of the military, according to Dumlu's testimony.

The media had discussed security flaws in the Aktütün attack for days. The General Staff sued the Taraf daily over its allegations of negligence. The case is still being heard.

Balbay on new coup plans

According to other documents found in the dossiers, Cumhuriyet daily's Ankara representative Mustafa Balbay, who was also arrested as part of the Ergenekeon investigation, held frequent meetings with higher-ranking army officers.

According to meeting minutes seized from Balbay's house during police raids, Balbay met with Gen. Necdet Timur, who was the Land Forces Commander at the time of Oct. 31, 1999. In this particular meeting, Gen. Timur asked, "What should be done, should we pull something like Feb. 28 again?" He was referring to the unarmed military intervention of Feb. 28, 1997, which overthrew a coalition government led by an Islamist party. A series of measures were taken at the end of this intervention to prevent religion from taking up a larger space in the society. To the general's question, Balbay replied: "No, we need something that would get results this time. You see what happens when you spread it out over an extended period."

In another meeting held on Jan. 15, 2000, the minutes of which were recorded meticulously by Balbay in his diary, Balbay tells Land Forces Commanders Gen. Atilla Ateş and Timur as well as retired Gen. Doğu Aktülga that the only way to deal with an Islamist government is by "using a stick."

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